Traits of Plants in Canada (TOPIC)

TOPIC logo

The TOPIC Database centralizes existing knowledge on the functional traits of Canadian flora. This knowledge (i.e., data) is made available by working group members in accordance with standardized data sharing guidelines.

The TOPIC database is hosted by the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources Canada.


The TOPIC Database is structured in two modules.

  • The Literature review module aims to consolidate data gathered from the scientific literature; these data are available to anyone willing to make a contribution to TOPIC.
  • The Empirical measurements module brings together datasets of direct observations collected in the field, laboratory, greenhouse or garden.

The database currently holds information on over 100 functional traits of more than 1400 vascular plant species.

Collaborating members

Members of the TOPIC working group come from universities, provincial and federal governments, and also includes professionals specializing in biodiversity.

Scientific committee

  • Aubin, Isabelle (Canadian Forest Service) Curator and Science Lead
  • Munson, Alison (Université Laval)
  • Boisvert-Marsh, Laura (Canadian Forest Service) Database manager
  • Arsenault, André (Canadian Forest Service)
  • Bell, Wayne (Ontario Forest Research Institute)
  • Shipley, Bill (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Messier, Christian (Université du Québec à Montréal)
  • Gachet, Sophie (Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Écologie, France)
  • Paquette, Alain (Université du Québec à Montréal)
  • Ricard, Jean-Pierre (WSP)

Members of the TOPIC network also include:

  • Baldwin, Ken (Canadian Forest Service)
  • Bélanger, Nicolas (TÉLUQ)
  • DeGrandpré, Louis (Canadian Forest Service)
  • Fleming, Rob (Canadian Forest Service)
  • Hazlett, Paul (Canadian Forest Service)
  • Kabzems, Richard (British Columbia Ministry of Forests)
  • Lawrence, Kevin (Canadian Forest Service)
  • Mallik, Azim (Lakehead University)
  • McKenney, Dan (Canadian Forest Service)
  • Morris, Dave (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests of Ontario)
  • Newmaster, Steve (Guelph University)
  • Poulin, Monique (Université Laval)
  • Prescott, Cindy (University of British Columbia)
  • Pellerin, Stéphanie (Université de Montréal)
  • Raulier, Frédéric (Université Laval)
  • Rivest, Daniel (Université de Québec en Outaouais)
  • Sirois, Luc (Université du Québec à Rimouski)
  • Thiffault, Nelson (Canadian Forest Service)
  • Vellend, Mark (Université de Sherbrooke)

Other contributors include:

  • D’Astous, Amélie
  • Bachand, Marianne
  • Beauséjour, Robin
  • Beauvais, Marie-Pierre
  • Blouin, Daniel
  • Boiffin, Juliette
  • Bourgeois, Bérenger
  • Brice, Marie-Hélène
  • Cardou, Françoise
  • Chapman, Kim
  • Charbonneau, Daniel
  • Cole, Heather
  • Correa, David L. P.
  • Dacosta, Jennifer
  • D’Amour, Noémie
  • Deshaies, Olivier
  • Downey, Margot
  • Garbe, Cornelia
  • Gautier-Éthier, Sandrine
  • Gingras-Hill, Tristan
  • Good, Kevin
  • Hébert, François
  • Higgins, Kellina
  • Kebli, Hedi
  • Lachance, Edith
  • Laigle, Idaline
  • Lapointe, Mélanie
  • Masse, Jacynthe
  • Maloney, Maggie
  • Patry, Cynthia
  • Payeur, Jean-Lionel
  • Royer Tardif, Samuel
  • Santala, Kierann
  • St-Martin, Philippe
  • Wei, Liping