Three-dimensional plant architecture and sunlit-shaded patterns: a stochastic model of light dynamics in canopies

Retkute, Renata and Townsend, Alexandra J. and Murchie, Erik H. and Jensen, Oliver E. and Preston, Simon P. (2018) Three-dimensional plant architecture and sunlit-shaded patterns: a stochastic model of light dynamics in canopies. Annals of Botany . ISSN 1095-8290

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Abstract

Background and Aims Diurnal changes in solar position and intensity combined with the structural complexity of plant architecture result in highly variable and dynamic light patterns within the plant canopy. This affects productivity through the complex ways that photosynthesis responds to changes in light intensity. Current methods to characterise light dynamics, such as ray-tracing, are able to produce data with excellent spatio-temporal resolution but are computationally intensive and the resultant data are complex and high dimensional. This necessitates development of more economical models for summarising the data and for simulating realistic light patterns over the course of a day.

Methods High-resolution reconstructions of field-grown plants are assembled in various configurations to form canopies, and a forward ray-tracing algorithm is applied to the canopies to compute light dynamics at high (1 minute) temporal resolution. From the ray-tracer output, the sunlit or shaded state for each patch on the plants is determined, and these data are used to develop a novel stochastic model for the sunlit-shaded patterns. The model is designed to be straightforward to fit to data using maximum likelihood estimation, and fast to simulate from.

Key Results For a wide range of contrasting 3D canopies, the stochastic model is able to summarise, and replicate in simulations, key features of the light dynamics. When light patterns simulated from the stochastic model are used as input to a model of photoinhibition, the predicted reduction in carbon gain is similar to that from calculations based on the (extremely costly) ray-tracer data.

Conclusions The model provides a way to summarise highly complex data in a small number of parameters, and a cost-effective way to simulate realistic light patterns. Simulations from the model will be particularly useful for feeding into larger-scale photosynthesis models for calculating how light dynamics affects the photosynthetic productivity of canopies.

Item Type: Article
RIS ID: https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/934094
Keywords: 3D architecture, crop canopy, ray-tracing, light dynamics, photosynthesis
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences > Division of Plant and Crop Sciences
University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcy067
Depositing User: Preston, Simon
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2018 12:55
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:37
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/51334

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