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Annikki Mäkelä (email), Thomas J. Givnish, Frank Berninger, Thomas N. Buckley, Graham D. Farquhar, Pertti Hari

Challenges and opportunities of the optimality approach in plant ecology

Mäkelä A., Givnish T. J., Berninger F., Buckley T. N., Farquhar G. D., Hari P. (2002). Challenges and opportunities of the optimality approach in plant ecology. Silva Fennica vol. 36 no. 3 article id 528. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.528

Abstract

A meeting was held in Hyytiälä, Finland 10–12 April 2000 to assess critically the current challenges and limitations of the optimality approach in plant ecophysiology and botany. This article summarises the general discussions and views of the participants on the use of optimisation models as tools in plant ecophysiological research. A general framework of the evolutionary optimisation problem is sketched with a review of applications, typically involved with balanced regulation between parallel processes. The usefulness and limitations of the approach are discussed in terms of published examples, with special reference to model testing. We conclude that, regardless of inevitable problems of model formulation, wider application of the optimality approach could provide a step forward in plant ecophysiology. A major role of evolutionary theory in this process is simply the formulation of testable hypotheses, the evaluation of which can lead to important advances in our ecophysiological understanding and predictive ability.

Keywords
models; acclimation; adaptation; optimisation; evolution; hypotheses; evaluation

Author Info
  • Mäkelä, University of Helsinki, Dept. of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 27, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland E-mail annikki.makela@helsinki.fi (email)
  • Givnish, University of Wisconsin, Department of Botany, Madison, WI 53706 USA E-mail tjg@nn.us
  • Berninger, University of Helsinki, Dept. of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 27, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland E-mail fb@nn.fi
  • Buckley, Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting and Environmental Biology Group, and Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, ACT 2601, Australia E-mail tnb@nn.au
  • Farquhar, Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting and Environmental Biology Group, and Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, ACT 2601, Australia E-mail gdf@nn.au
  • Hari, University of Helsinki, Dept. of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 27, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland E-mail ph@nn.fi

Received 4 July 2001 Accepted 8 August 2002 Published 31 December 2002

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Available at https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.528 | Download PDF

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