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  • Crop Canopy

    A software package to simulate daily field crop canopy photosynthesis

    How can we improve crops in the future? One method would be to improve the photosynthesis process in crops, to increase productivity from the same plants. However, there isn’t a lot of research connecting leaf-level photosynthetic manipulation and crop performance. A new software package developed by Wu et al. produces a model of diurnal crop […] More

  • A root system

    Seeking stable traits to characterize the root system architecture

    The shape of the root system creates a lot of the context for plants to interact with a source of nutrients, water and pathogens. If you can characterize root system architecture, then you can investigate root functions and interactions. However, examining this is difficult, partly for the obvious reason that soil is difficult to see […] More

  • Orchard

    Modelling temporal variation of parameters used in photosynthesis models

    Several studies have found seasonal and temporal variability in leaf photosynthesis parameters in different crops. Poirier-Pocovi et al. use six-year-old fruit-bearing branches of ten-year-old apple trees to study and model the seasonal variation of photosynthetic parameters in leaves of vegetative shoots, as a function of global fruit load (at the branch level), with and without […] More

  • Fineness vs. density relationship.

    Branching patterns of monocots and dicots

    Branching patterns of root systems are characterized and compared by Pagès with a set of six quantitative traits revealing interspecific variations and correlations, suggesting trade-offs. The ‘fineness-density’ and ‘dominance-heterorhizy’ axes separated the species, according to roots’ minimal diameter and branching density, and according to apical diameter and level of dominance of mother roots over their […] More

  • Conceptual model of root water uptake including the effect of mucilage and root hairs.

    Rhizosphere biophysics and root water uptake

    The combination of soil drying and a high transpiration rate causes severe water stress in plants. In their Viewpoint article, Carminati et al. develop a biophysical model to describe how low soil moisture and high transpiration rates result in dramatic reduction of xylem water potential occurring across the rhizosphere as the soil dries, eventually leading […] More

  • Simulated tree from a functional–structural modelling suite.

    Tree crown architecture and ice accretion

    Despite a longstanding interest in tree species’ vulnerability to ice storms, analyses of the influence of crown structure on within-crown variation in ice accretion are rare. Nock et al. test the hypothesis that intra-crown ice accretion can be predicted by a measure of sheltering by neighbouring branches. Empirical results and simulations confirmed a key role […] More

  • Image: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen. Gera-Untermhaus, 1897.


    Echoing a plea from Ron Milo and Robert Last that computational methods [which is sort of ‘math(s)’…] should be used to gain deeper understanding of the fundamental principles that govern regulation of metabolic pathways in plants, here’s advance notice of The Sixth Mathematics in the Plant Sciences Study Group meeting. Taking place from 25–28th March […] More

  • Modelling Of Ecosystems: the Cycle, Inputs and Ouputs
    in , , ,

    Stochastic modelling in ecosystems – progress but we are not there yet

    Modelling of processes lets one understand the functions of interacting components, helps to identify parts of processes, and can predict outcomes of changes in the system. Unfortunately, what was a major area of financial modelling is now largely discredited, much to the cost of the rest of us; other areas such as insurance are becoming so […] More

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