PS 19-218 - Macroecological life-history trait database for birds, mammals, and reptiles

Monday, August 6, 2012
Exhibit Hall, Oregon Convention Center
Elita Baldridge, Independant researcher, Emporia, KS, Nathan Myrhvold, Intellectual Ventures, Bellevue, WA and S.K. Morgan Ernest, Department of Biology, Utah State University, Logan, UT

This data set was developed to explore patterns of life history traits within and among mammals, birds, and reptiles.  While high-quality, publicly available life history databases are already available for mammals, there were no equivalent publicly available databases for life histories of reptiles and birds.  We created this database to provide a central resource for life history traits for amniotes to allow for comparative analyses of life history traits among birds, reptiles, and mammals.  The data were collected from primary literature sources, existing life history trait databases, and published books.  Each data point has a citation code in the primary raw data file, and full citations are recorded and linked with the citation code in a separate citation file.  The primary data file presented has been processed so that the taxonomy for each group is consistent with the currently accepted taxonomy for each group, and values have been converted to standardized units (grams, days, and centimeters).  For each species, we took a median value for quantitative life history variables.  The median value is a more robust measure of central tendency for these variables.  We did not restrict data collection with respect to trophic level, habitat, or ecology of a species


We have data for over 8,000 bird species out of a globally estimated number of 10,000 bird species.  We have data for over 5,000 reptile species out of a globally estimated number of 10,000 reptile species.  We have data for over 4,000 mammals out of a globally estimated number of 5, 500 mammals. 

There are several caveats to the use of this database.  Because life history traits can vary across the geographic range of a species, we summarized the data to provide median values of life history traits for a species.  Some values are artificially precise due to conversion from one unit to another.  The database does not contain complete life histories for all species, so this should be taken into consideration during analysis as well.  Because the data represent a general life history of a species, the data are appropriate for general macroecological analyses, but not for detailed population-level analyses.