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Reply with quote  #1 
Kevin has pointed out that the "functional groups" to which a user must assign a new non-ITIS node contains a rather strange and confused assortment of choices that includes both true "functional" categories and random taxa of varied interest. 

The list comes from the paper and chapter by Graham (2004 & 2008, see below) on kelp forests, the intention being that they offer a convenient (published) way to aggregate species.

What are people's thoughts on (1) whether or not to include such a list at all, and (2) whether/how to refine and/or expand the list to remove taxonomic groups and have it be focused on "true" functional groups only.

Graham, M. H. 2004. Effects of Local Deforestation on the Diversity and Structure of Southern California Giant Kelp Forest Food Webs. Ecosystems 7:341-357.

Graham, M., B. Halpern, and M. Carr. 2008. Diversity and Dynamics of Californian Substidal Kelp Forests. Pages 103-134 in T. R. McClanahan and G. M. Branch, editors. Food Webs and the Dynamics of Marine Reefs. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Scott Hamilton
Reply with quote  #2 

Functional groups

Primary producer
·      Phytoplankton
·      Benthic macroalgae
·      Benthic microalgae

Herbivore (feeds on any primary producer other than phytoplankton)

·      Invertivore

·      Other (bird, mammal)

Planktivore (consuming both phyto- and zooplankton)

Detritivore (consuming both phyto- and zoodetritus)


Non-living substrate



Super Moderators
Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #3 
This is a google doc with the functional groups we have discussed.

Super Moderators
Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi all,
 I suggest we try simplify Rodrigo's suggested functional group list down by removing/collapsing all taxonomic groups (e.g., harbor_seals, sea_otter, invert_octopus, invert_abalones, etc.), size-based groups (e.g., fish_flatfish_large, rockfish_yoy_...)
, habitat-based groups (e.g., rockfish_yoy_benthic vs. rockfish_yoy_midwater), and locomotion-based groups (e.g, sessile_sponge).  In my opinion these will all be superfluous because they will be available via our use of ITIS, our stage assignment, our habitat-affiliation assignment, and our mobility assignment.  As it is, I think this list is also rather biased in its taxonomic distribution (e.g., splitting of animals vs. algae).  Basically, I think we can pare this down to a shorter set of nested categories that will end up being far more similar to the one that Mark, Jenn, Scott and I came up with last week (see above).
Mark Carr
Reply with quote  #5 
I advocate we go with the simple set of categories that Scott posted recently (generated at the last workshop).  There is nothing in the Graham et al chapter that suggests individual species as functional groups.  Most importantly, let the database and models generate these groups... these input categories should be very simple to avoid confusion while undergrads, etc. are inputting the information.  
Reply with quote  #6 
Functional groups

1. Primary producer
1.a. Phytoplankton
1.b. Benthic macroalgae
1.c. Benthic microalgae

2. Herbivore (feeds on any primary producer other than phytoplankton)
3. Carnivore
3.a) Invertivore
   3.b) Piscivore

4, Other (bird, mammal)

5. Planktivore (consuming both phyto- and zooplankton)

6. Detritivore (consuming both phyto- and zoodetritus)

7. Parasite

8. Non-living substrate

9. Unknown

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