Functional traits and ecological affinities of riparian plants along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon

Western North American Naturalist
By: , and 



Trait-based approaches to vegetation analyses are becoming more prevalent in studies of riparian vegetation dynamics, including responses to flow regulation, groundwater pumping, and climate change. These analyses require species trait data compiled from the literature and floras or original field measurements. Gathering such data makes trait-based research time intensive at best and impracticable in some cases. To support trait-based analysis of vegetation along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, a data set of 20 biological traits and ecological affinities for 179 species occurring in that study area was compiled. This diverse flora shares species with many riparian areas in the western USA and includes species that occur across a wide moisture gradient. Data were compiled from published scientific papers, unpublished reports, plant fact sheets, existing trait databases, regional floras, and plant guides. Data for ordinal environmental tolerances were more readily available than were quantitative traits. More publicly available data are needed for traits of both common and rare southwestern U.S. plant species to facilitate comprehensive, trait-based research. The trait data set is free to use and can be downloaded from ScienceBase: and

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Functional traits and ecological affinities of riparian plants along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon
Series title Western North American Naturalist
Volume 77
Issue 1
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, Brigham Young University
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description Article 3; 9 p.
Country United States
Other Geospatial Colorado River, Grand Canyon
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