Journal Article

A dynamic model of plant growth with interactions between development and functional mechanisms to study plant structural plasticity related to trophic competition

A. Mathieu, P. H. Cournède, V. Letort, D. Barthélémy and P. de Reffye

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 103, issue 8, pages 1173-1186
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp054
A dynamic model of plant growth with interactions between development and functional mechanisms to study plant structural plasticity related to trophic competition

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

The strong influence of environment and functioning on plant organogenesis has been well documented by botanists but is poorly reproduced in most functional–structural models. In this context, a model of interactions is proposed between plant organogenesis and plant functional mechanisms.

Methods

The GreenLab model derived from AMAP models was used. Organogenetic rules give the plant architecture, which defines an interconnected network of organs. The plant is considered as a collection of interacting ‘sinks’ that compete for the allocation of photosynthates coming from ‘sources’. A single variable characteristic of the balance between sources and sinks during plant growth controls different events in plant development, such as the number of branches or the fruit load.

Key Results

Variations in the environmental parameters related to light and density induce changes in plant morphogenesis. Architecture appears as the dynamic result of this balance, and plant plasticity expresses itself very simply at different levels: appearance of branches and reiteration, number of organs, fructification and adaptation of ecophysiological characteristics.

Conclusions

The modelling framework serves as a tool for theoretical botany to explore the emergence of specific morphological and architectural patterns and can help to understand plant phenotypic plasticity and its strategy in response to environmental changes.

Keywords: Trophic plasticity; plant growth; functional–structural models; dynamic system; interactions; GreenLab

Journal Article.  9041 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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