Mar 10, 2017

Agronomy & physiology WCRC Agro-physio-australia WCRC1
Abstract                                                                         Back to Table of contents

"Virtual plants" are computer abstractions which contain sufficient spatial information for realistic images of successive growth stages to be generated.  Virtual plants are assembled by software which interprets rules of growth worked out from measurements of real plants.  The software keeps track of the shapes and 3-dimensional positions of plant parts over time, calculating geometric and topological properties as well as numbers of squares, bolls and other parts.  Output can be numeric as well as in the form of schematic plant maps or realistic images.  Time-lapse photography can be simulated by sequential display of images.  The spatial information may be used to calculate such things as how leaf shape and internode length affect canopy penetration by light and insecticides. Interactions between the arrangements of fruiting points and meristems, locations of damage and distances between pest feeding sites may be taken into account in predicting compensatory growth and in defining thresholds for application of pesticides.  Simulated performance of hypothetical plant architectures could suggest target forms for plant breeders and genetic engineers.  Decision making and training of farm managers should be improved by using dynamic plant maps and realistic images to visualise the likely results of alternative management actions.  Personal computers able to run this software should be available within about four years.

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