What is it about?

This paper describes BETYdb, an open database of plant trait and yield data that has been used for meta-analysis and crop and ecosystem modeling. It summarizes the available data and provides examples of its use. In addition to providing open data to advance bioenergy feedstock research, BETYdb has expanded to included data on a wide range of plant and ecosystems measurements. BETYdb is the central database supporting the Predictive Ecosystem Analyzer (PEcAn, pecanproject.org) framework for crop and ecosystem modeling; it is used by the TERRA REFerence Phenotyping Platform (TERRA-REF, terraref.org) to store agronomic metadata and plant traits for the public domain high throughput phenomics dataset. The database schema was also adopted by the Global Forest Carbon database (forc-db.github.io), the largest database of ground-based measurements of forest ecosytsem carbon stocks and annual fluxes. In this paper we demonstrate the use of BETYdb to characterize biomass production of multiple potential biomass crops. A key finding is that Miscanthus is over twice as productive as Switchgrass across a wide range of environmental and management conditions.

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Why is it important?

To demonstrate the value of the data when applied to evaluate plants that can produce biomass for bioenergy, a meta-analysis shows that Miscanthus is over twice as productive as Switchgrass across a wide range of environmental and management conditions. BETYdb has also become a key component of the PEcAn project infrastructure for crop and ecosystem modeling. The BETYdb software is being used at many institutions to manage and share data across research teams.

Perspectives

BETYdb was built to support meta-analysis for ecosystem modeling. It has a nice interface that walks scientists through the steps of extracting data from the primary literature and putting it into the database. Since we originally developed the database for that purpose, we have extended the software to make it easier to import primary data. It is particularly good at storing experimental metadata in a consistent way.

David LeBauer
The University of Arizona

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This page is a summary of: BETYdb: a yield, trait, and ecosystem service database applied to second-generation bioenergy feedstock production, GCB Bioenergy, January 2017, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12420.
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