Traits Across Species’ Ranges

TASpeR (Traits Across Species’ Ranges) is a community science 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 2020 we are currently focused on developing partnerships with community 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), along with other nearby species, throughout red maple’s 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 community science?

Community 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 2020 our goal is to build a community science network to collect samples from red maple in at least 200 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. In 2019 leaves were collected at over 100 locations indicated in magenta on the map for the TASpeR project.

How will community 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 community scientist volunteers we can greatly increase the spatial coverage of our sampling.
  • Community 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 Community Scientist