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1.  Towards aspect-oriented functional–structural plant modelling 
Annals of Botany  2011;108(6):1025-1041.
Background and Aims
Functional–structural plant models (FSPMs) are used to integrate knowledge and test hypotheses of plant behaviour, and to aid in the development of decision support systems. A significant amount of effort is being put into providing a sound methodology for building them. Standard techniques, such as procedural or object-oriented programming, are not suited for clearly separating aspects of plant function that criss-cross between different components of plant structure, which makes it difficult to reuse and share their implementations. The aim of this paper is to present an aspect-oriented programming approach that helps to overcome this difficulty.
The L-system-based plant modelling language L+C was used to develop an aspect-oriented approach to plant modelling based on multi-modules. Each element of the plant structure was represented by a sequence of L-system modules (rather than a single module), with each module representing an aspect of the element's function. Separate sets of productions were used for modelling each aspect, with context-sensitive rules facilitated by local lists of modules to consider/ignore. Aspect weaving or communication between aspects was made possible through the use of pseudo-L-systems, where the strict-predecessor of a production rule was specified as a multi-module.
Key Results
The new approach was used to integrate previously modelled aspects of carbon dynamics, apical dominance and biomechanics with a model of a developing kiwifruit shoot. These aspects were specified independently and their implementation was based on source code provided by the original authors without major changes.
This new aspect-oriented approach to plant modelling is well suited for studying complex phenomena in plant science, because it can be used to integrate separate models of individual aspects of plant development and function, both previously constructed and new, into clearly organized, comprehensive FSPMs. In a future work, this approach could be further extended into an aspect-oriented programming language for FSPMs.
PMCID: PMC3189837  PMID: 21724653
L-system; aspect-oriented programming; Actinidia deliciosa (kiwifruit); functional–structural plant model; plant architecture; carbon dynamics; biomechanics; hormone transport
2.  A functional–structural kiwifruit vine model integrating architecture, carbon dynamics and effects of the environment 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(5):747-764.
Background and Aims
Functional–structural modelling can be used to increase our understanding of how different aspects of plant structure and function interact, identify knowledge gaps and guide priorities for future experimentation. By integrating existing knowledge of the different aspects of the kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) vine's architecture and physiology, our aim is to develop conceptual and mathematical hypotheses on several of the vine's features: (a) plasticity of the vine's architecture; (b) effects of organ position within the canopy on its size; (c) effects of environment and horticultural management on shoot growth, light distribution and organ size; and (d) role of carbon reserves in early shoot growth.
Using the L-system modelling platform, a functional–structural plant model of a kiwifruit vine was created that integrates architectural development, mechanistic modelling of carbon transport and allocation, and environmental and management effects on vine and fruit growth. The branching pattern was captured at the individual shoot level by modelling axillary shoot development using a discrete-time Markov chain. An existing carbon transport resistance model was extended to account for several source/sink components of individual plant elements. A quasi-Monte Carlo path-tracing algorithm was used to estimate the absorbed irradiance of each leaf.
Key Results
Several simulations were performed to illustrate the model's potential to reproduce the major features of the vine's behaviour. The model simulated vine growth responses that were qualitatively similar to those observed in experiments, including the plastic response of shoot growth to local carbon supply, the branching patterns of two Actinidia species, the effect of carbon limitation and topological distance on fruit size and the complex behaviour of sink competition for carbon.
The model is able to reproduce differences in vine and fruit growth arising from various experimental treatments. This implies it will be a valuable tool for refining our understanding of kiwifruit growth and for identifying strategies to improve production.
PMCID: PMC3077975  PMID: 20855486
Actinidia deliciosa; kiwifruit; L-systems; plant architecture; carbon allocation; functional–structural plant model
3.  Apple Dwarfing Rootstocks and Interstocks Affect the Type of Growth Units Produced during the Annual Growth Cycle: Precocious Transition to Flowering Affects the Composition and Vigour of Annual Shoots 
Annals of Botany  2008;101(5):679-687.
Background and Aims
Precocious flowering in apple trees is often associated with a smaller tree size. The hypothesis was tested that floral evocation in axillary buds, induced by dwarfing rootstocks, reduces the vigour of annual shoots developing from these buds compared with shoots developing from vegetative buds.
The experimental system provided a wide range of possible tree vigour using ‘Royal Gala’ scions and M.9 (dwarfing) and MM.106 (non-dwarfing) as rootstocks and interstocks. Second-year annual shoots were divided into growth units corresponding to periods (flushes) of growth namely, vegetative spur, extension growth unit, uninterrupted growth unit, floral growth unit (bourse) and extended bourse. The differences between the floral and vegetative shoots were quantified by the constituent growth units produced.
Key Results
The dwarfing influence was expressed, firstly, in reduced proportions of shoots that contained at least one extension growth unit and secondly, in reduced proportions of bicyclic shoots (containing two extension growth units) and shoots with an uninterrupted growth unit. In treatments where floral shoots were present, they were markedly less vigorous than vegetative shoots with respect to both measures. In treatments with M.9 rootstock, vegetative and floral shoots produced on average 0·52 and 0·17 extension growth units, compared with 0·77 extension growth units per shoot in the MM.106 rootstock treatment. Remarkably, the number of nodes per extension growth unit was not affected by the rootstock/interstock treatments.
These results showed that rootstocks/interstocks affect the type of growth units produced during the annual growth cycle, reducing the number of extension growth units, thus affecting the composition and vigour of annual shoots. This effect is particularly amplified by the transition to flowering induced by dwarfing rootstocks. The division of annual shoot into growth units will also be useful for measuring and modelling effects of age on apple tree architecture.
PMCID: PMC2710180  PMID: 18263898
Apple; dwarfing; growth unit; flowering; interstock; Malus × domestica; modelling; plant architecture; polycyclic growth; shoot growth; rootstock
4.  Independent Control of Organogenesis and Shoot Tip Abortion are Key Factors to Developmental Plasticity in Kiwifruit (Actinidia) 
Annals of Botany  2007;100(3):471-481.
Background and Aims
In kiwifruit (Actinidia), the number of nodes per shoot is highly variable and is influenced by genotype and environmental conditions. To understand this developmental plasticity, three key processes were studied: organogenesis by the shoot apical meristem during shoot growth; expansion of phytomers; and shoot tip abortion.
Studies were made of organogenesis and shoot tip abortion using light and scanning electron microscopy. The effect of temperature on shoot growth cessation was investigated using temperature indices over the budbreak period, and patterns of shoot tip abortion were quantified using stochastic modelling.
Key Results
All growing buds began organogenesis before budbreak. During shoot development, the number of phytomers initiated by the shoot apical meristem is correlated with the number of expanding phytomers and the mean internode length. Shoot tip abortion is preceded by growth cessation and is not brought about by the death of the shoot apical meristem, but occurs by tissue necrosis in the sub-apical zone. For most genotypes studied, the probability of shoot tip abortion is higher during expansion of the preformed part of the shoot. Lower temperatures during early growth result in a higher probability of shoot tip abortion.
Organogenesis and shoot tip abortion are controlled independently. All buds have the potential to become long shoots. Conditions that increase early growth rate postpone shoot tip abortion.
PMCID: PMC2533607  PMID: 17650513
Actinidia; kiwifruit; shoot fate; neoformation; organogenesis; shoot tip abortion; developmental plasticity; temperature
5.  Quantitative Analysis of Shoot Development and Branching Patterns in Actinidia 
Annals of Botany  2002;89(4):471-482.
We developed a framework for the quantitative description of Actinidia vine architecture, classifying shoots into three types (short, medium and long) corresponding to the modes of node number distribution and the presence/absence of neoformed nodes. Short and medium shoots were self‐terminated and had only preformed nodes. Based on the cut‐off point between their two modes of node number distribution, short shoots were defined as having nine or less nodes, and medium shoots as having more than nine nodes. Long shoots were non‐terminated and had a number of neoformed nodes; the total number of nodes per shoot was up to 90. Branching patterns for each parent shoot type were represented by a succession of branching zones. Probabilities of different types of axillary production (latent bud, short, medium or long shoot) and the distributions of length for each branching zone were estimated from experimental data using hidden semi‐Markov chain stochastic models. Branching was acrotonic on short and medium parent shoots, with most axillary shoots being located near the shoot tip. For long parent shoots, branching was mesotonic, with most long axillary shoots being located in the transition zone between the preformed and neoformed part of the parent shoot. Although the shoot classification is based on node number distribution there was a marked difference in average (per shoot) internode length between the shoot types, with mean values of 9, 27 and 47 mm for short, medium and long shoots, respectively. Bud and shoot development is discussed in terms of environmental controls.
PMCID: PMC4233881  PMID: 12096808
Actinidia chinensis; kiwifruit; plant architecture; shoot types; node number; internode length; preformation; neoformation; modelling; hidden semi‐Markov chain model

Results 1-5 (5)