Search TraitBank

TraitBank® is a searchable, comprehensive, open digital repository for organism traits, measurements, interactions and other facts for all taxa across the tree of life.

TraitBank currently features over 11 million records related to more than 330 attributes for 1.7 million taxa obtained from over 50 data sources.

Whether you are fact-finding or conducting analyses, we invite you to explore this new dimension to the Encyclopedia of Life.  Please share your feedback regarding any aspect of TraitBank.

How it Works

TraitBank is integrated into the fabric of EOL, and leverages its existing infrastructure for names, content organization, curation roles and search.  Data records are aggregated from databases, literature tables, and other sources.

A sample of records appears on the Overview tab for each organism's EOL page, and all records available for each organism appear on a new Data tab on each EOL taxon page.

Data tab for California Sea Lion

All data are subject to curation by EOL curators. For each data record, TraitBank displays all of the related information we receive from the data provider, including its provenance, attribute definitions, measurement methods, and related data elements from the same set.

Data record for California Sea Lion average body mass

Using the data search tool you can find and download all data TraitBank holds for each attribute of interest. You can search and filter by specific values and by taxon, and can sort the results. 

Search results for body mass

How to Re-use TraitBank Data

TraitBank records are derived from data sets that are either without copyright restrictions or released under an Attribution Creative Commons License. Regardless of any legal restrictions, please be sure to cite the sources (data suppliers and literature cited), if you use any of these data. Full credits and references are provided in the Data tabs of EOL taxon pages and in the download files.

You can download data for particular traits through the TraitBank search interface. Data for particular taxa can be accessed through our JSON-LD service which takes an EOL page identifier and returns all trait data available for a particular group.  For example, this url: will return all trait data for Potos flavus, the kinkajou, which has EOL page id #328067.  You can get the EOL page id for a particular taxon through our Search API.

How to Contribute TraitBank Data

Data import to TraitBank is still an evolving process.  Our current import format is documented here: Structured Data Darwin Core Archives. If you have numerical or categorical data, ecological interaction data, or controlled vocabulary terms for a large number of organisms, it's best if you contact us to discuss details.

How to Become a TraitBank Research Collaborator & Sponsor

The EOL team is interested in research and outreach collaborations with third-party investigators and organizations.  Funded collaborations make it possible for the EOL team to help researchers make the best use of existing TraitBank capabilities, and provide expertise for data mobilization, extraction and analysis efforts.  EOL is also interested in opportunities to extend TraitBank's capabilities to support project-specific requirements.  To learn more contact the EOL Secretariat.

We invite biodiversity researchers to take advantage of the significant investments and expertise behind TraitBank as part of their grants and other sponsored projects.  To learn more contact the EOL Secretariat.

Substantial financial support for the first release of TraitBank comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, with additional support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the institutional partners of the Encyclopedia of Life, and the global community of EOL users. We also thank EOL's Science Advisors and beta testers for their able assistance.