Fishtraits Database

Credits: Dr. Emmanuel A. Frimpong & Dr. Paul L. Angermeier
Contact: Dr. Emmanuel A. Frimpong

Welcome to the FishTraits Database

The need for integrated and widely accessible sources of species traits data to facilitate studies of ecology, conservation, and management has motivated development of traits databases for various taxa. In spite of the increasing number of traits-based analyses of freshwater fishes in the United States, no consolidated database of traits of this group exists publicly, and much useful information on these species is documented only in obscure sources. The largely inaccessible and unconsolidated traits information makes large-scale analysis involving many fishes and/or traits particularly challenging.

FishTraits is a database of >100 traits for 809 (731 native and 78 exotic) fish species found in freshwaters of the conterminous United States, including 37 native families and 145 native genera. The database contains information on four major categories of traits: (1) trophic ecology, (2) body size and reproductive ecology (life history), (3) habitat associations, and (4) salinity and temperature tolerances. Information on geographic distribution and conservation status is also included. Together, we refer to the traits, distribution, and conservation status information as attributes. Descriptions of attributes are available here. Many sources were consulted to compile attributes, including state and regional species accounts and other databases.

FishTraits provides many opportunities for conducting research on fish species traits and constitutes the first step toward establishing a central repository for a continually expanding set of traits and species of North American fishes. Details of the origin of the database, potential uses, and limitations are available from related publications 1, 2.




Funding to develop FishTraits and the website came from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Aquatic Gap Analysis Program and the Virginia Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. We thank Virginia Tech students Koan Heindel, Victor Wooten, Richard Pendleton, and Gregory Bradshaw for dedicating a lot of time and care to data processing and entry as part of their training in our laboratories. We also thank Dr. Quanlei Fang for designing the online version of the database when she was a graduate student in the Virginia Tech Department of Mathematics.

Last Update: Feb. 2013