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Back into the past: Resurveying random plots to track community changes in Italian coastal dunes


Sperandii, Marta Gaia; Acosta, Alicia Teresa Rosario (2020), Back into the past: Resurveying random plots to track community changes in Italian coastal dunes, Dryad, Dataset,


This dataset includes two excel sheets. The first contains vegetation data ("species_data", a matrix of 668 plots x 213 species) and the second contains plant functional traits data ("traits_data") that were used to evaluate temporal changes in taxonomic and functional diversity of Mediterranean coastal dune habitats.

As to the first sheet ("species_data"): vegetation data were collected at two points in time (Time 0, hereafter T0: 2002-2007, and Time 1, herafter T1: 2017-2018) in 334 randomly-sampled, georeferenced, standardized (4 m2) plots. Historical data used for the resurveying study were extracted from RanVegDunes (Sperandii et al. 2017). Details on the resurveying protocol can be found in Sperandii et al. (2019), but in short: resampling activities took place during the same months in which the original sampling was done, and plot positions were relocated using a GPS unit on which historical geographic coordinates were stored. Plots are located in coastal dune sites along the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts of Central Italy, and belong to herbaceous communities classified into the following EU Habitats (sensu Annex I 92/43/EEC): upper beach (Habitat 1210), embryo dunes (Habitat 2110), shifting dunes (Habitat 2120), fixed dunes (Habitat 2210), and dune grasslands (Habitat 2230). A subset of plots could not be classified into an EU Habitat because they were highly disturbed or invaded by alien species (“NC-plots”). The matrix includes cover data, expressed as percentage (%) cover. 

As to the second sheet ("traits_data"): this sheet includes data on 3 plant functional traits, two of them quantitative (plant height, specific leaf area - SLA) and one qualitative (plant lifespan). Data for the quantitative traits represent species-level average trait values and were extracted from “TraitDunes”, a database registered on the global platform TRY (Kattge et al., 2020). Functional trait data were collected in the same sites covered by the resurveying study. Functional trait data were originally measured on the most abundant species, and are available for a varying number of species depending on the trait.


Kattge, J., Bönisch, G., Díaz, S., Lavorel, S., Prentice, I. C., Leadley, P., ... & Wirth, C. (2020). TRY plant trait database–enhanced coverage and open access. Global Change Biology.

Sperandii, M.G., Prisco, I., Stanisci, A., & Acosta, A.T.R (2017). RanVegDunes-A random plot database of Italian coastal dunes. Phytocoenologia, 47(2), 231-232.

Sperandii, M.G., Bazzichetto, M., Gatti, F., & Acosta, A.T.R. (2019). Back into the past: Resurveying random plots to track community changes in Italian coastal dunes. Ecological Indicators, 96, 572-578.