Traits Across Species’ Ranges

TASpeR (Traits Across Species’ Ranges) is a project focused on understanding how variation within plant species influences the size and movement of different pools of elements (e.g., carbon, nitrogen) on the surface of the Earth.

For 2019 we are currently focused on developing partnerships with citizen scientist groups and individuals to survey patterns of green vs. freshly fallen leaf nutrient concentrations (i.e., foliar nutrient resorption) of red maple (Acer rubrum) throughout its geographic distribution. Learn more about the research questions

Interested in collecting red maple leaves for TASpeR as a group or individual? – Get involved!

What is citizen science?

Citizen science is an avenue for participatory research that encourages the involvement of both non-specialist and specialist members of the public to form a network that works together to make scientific discoveries that would have otherwise not been possible. In 2019 our goal is to build a citizen science network to collect samples from red maple in at least 150 different locations throughout the United States to understand how leaf traits vary in this species in response to strong environmental gradients.

Approximate geographic distribution of red maple (Acer rubrum) in United States as indicated by green shading. Leaves will be collected at locations indicated in magenta on the map for the TASpeR project. As of 7/19/2019 we have over 100 locations!

How will citizen scientists contribute to the TASpeR project?

  • Repeated sampling throughout the geographic range of a species is a major logistical challenge for an individual researcher.
  • By partnering with citizen scientist volunteers we can greatly increase the spatial coverage of our sampling.
  • Citizen scientists contribute samples and data to a scientific study that will have the power to address fundamental questions about how plants function in response to their environment.
  • Data will be made publicly available and research articles will be made available for everyone to access.


Click Here to Sign-up as a Citizen Scientist