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Project ongoing since 2023


ISland Leaf Ecophysiological Trait Synthesis

ISLETS © Claire Fortunel
Islands are home to a unique biodiversity, with numerous endemic species and traits that differentiate them from continental species. This biodiversity is one of the most threatened on Earth, and invasive species are abundant on islands. 

Insular environments often have fewer species than continents, and species interaction networks are thus more simple. It is generally predicted that insular plants are therefore less competitive than continental ones, rendering them particularly vulnerable to invasions. However, few studies have directly tested this hypothesis with competition experiments or species demographic analyses. An alternative approach to test this prediction is through a comparison of functional traits that directly link to plant performance and competitive ability.

The ISLETS project will bring together an open access functional trait database, focusing on traits involved in resource use in island plants globally. This database will complement other databases that are already in place for continental species and will thus allow for new comparisons to improve our understanding of the unique evolution that occurs on islands. Moreover, functional trait diversity of island plants will enable new tests of the prediction that island plants are weak competitors, shedding new light on the widespread success of invasive species on islands.
ISLETS during its first workshop in June 2023

Principal Investigators (PIs):


Kasey BARTON – Hawaï University (USA);

Claire FORTUNEL – IRD (France)



ouvrir/fermer Participants:

Kevin BURNS – Victoria University of Wellington (NZL), Thomas IBANEZ – IRD (FRA), Sandrine ISNARD – IRD (FRA), Gunnar KEPPEL – University of South Australia (AUS), Imma OLIVERAS MENOR – IRD (FRA), Manichanh SATDICHANH – Kunming Institute of Botany (CHI), Maria Natalia UMANA – University of Michigan  (USA), Rakan ZAHAWI – Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (ECU)

ISLETS brings together specialists of insular biogeography, biodiversity, functional ecology and global changes.


ISLETS was selected from the 2022 datashare call for proposals. The project selection process was carried out by a committee of independent experts.

In partnership with