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Articles by Thomas N. Buckley

Category: Commentary

article id 528, category Commentary
Annikki Mäkelä, Thomas J. Givnish, Frank Berninger, Thomas N. Buckley, Graham D. Farquhar, Pertti Hari. (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
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.
  • Mäkelä, University of Helsinki, Dept. of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 27, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail: annikki.makela@helsinki.fi (email)
  • Givnish, University of Wisconsin, Department of Botany, Madison, WI 53706 USA ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Berninger, University of Helsinki, Dept. of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 27, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Buckley, Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting and Environmental Biology Group, and Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, ACT 2601, Australia ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Farquhar, Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting and Environmental Biology Group, and Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, ACT 2601, Australia ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Hari, University of Helsinki, Dept. of Forest Ecology, P.O. Box 27, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland ORCID ID:E-mail:

Category: Research article

article id 531, category Research article
Thomas N. Buckley, Jeffrey M. Miller, Graham D. Farquhar. (2002). The mathematics of linked optimisation for water and nitrogen use in a canopy. Silva Fennica vol. 36 no. 3 article id 531. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.531
We develop, and discuss the implementation of, a mathematical framework for inferring optimal patterns of water and nitrogen use. Our analysis is limited to a time scale of one day and a spatial scale consisting of the green canopy of one plant, and we assume that this canopy has fixed quantities of nitrogen and water available for use in photosynthesis. The efficiencies of water and nitrogen use, and the interactions between the two, are strongly affected by physiological and physical properties that can be modeled in different ways. The thrust of this study is therefore to discuss these properties and how they affect the efficiencies of nitrogen and water use, and to demonstrate, qualitatively, the effects of different model assumptions on inferred optimal strategies. Preliminary simulations suggest that the linked optimisation of nitrogen and water use is particularly sensitive to the level of detail in canopy light penetration models (e.g., whether sunlit and shaded fractions are pooled or considered independently), and to assumptions regarding nitrogen and irradiance gradients within leaves (which determine how whole-leaf potential electron transport rate is calculated from leaf nitrogen content and incident irradiance).
  • Buckley, Environmental Biology Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, The Australian National University, GPO Box 475, Canberra City, ACT 2601, Australia and Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting, RSBS, ANU ORCID ID:E-mail: tom_buckley@alumni.jmu.edu (email)
  • Miller, Environmental Biology Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, The Australian National University, GPO Box 475, Canberra City, ACT 2601, Australia ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Farquhar, Environmental Biology Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, The Australian National University, GPO Box 475, Canberra City, ACT 2601, Australia and Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting, RSBS, ANU ORCID ID:E-mail:
article id 530, category Research article
Graham D. Farquhar, Thomas N. Buckley, Jeffrey M. Miller. (2002). Optimal stomatal control in relation to leaf area and nitrogen content. Silva Fennica vol. 36 no. 3 article id 530. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.530
We introduce the simultaneous optimisation of water-use efficiency and nitrogen-use efficiency of canopy photosynthesis. As a vehicle for this idea we consider the optimal leaf area for a plant in which there is no self-shading among leaves. An emergent result is that canopy assimilation over a day is a scaled sum of daily water use and of photosynthetic nitrogen display. The respective scaling factors are the marginal carbon benefits of extra transpiration and extra such nitrogen, respectively. The simple approach successfully predicts that as available water increases, or evaporative demand decreases, the leaf area should increase, with a concomitant reduction in nitrogen per unit leaf area. The changes in stomatal conductance are therefore less than would occur if leaf area were not to change. As irradiance increases, the modelled leaf area decreases, and nitrogen/leaf area increases. As total available nitrogen increases, leaf area also increases. In all the examples examined, the sharing by leaf area and properties per unit leaf area means that predicted changes in either are less than if predicted in isolation. We suggest that were plant density to be included, it too would further share the response, further diminishing the changes required per unit leaf area.
  • Farquhar, Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting and Environmental Biology Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, ACT 2601, Australia ORCID ID:E-mail: farquhar@rsbs.anu.edu.au (email)
  • Buckley, Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting and Environmental Biology Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, ACT 2601, Australia ORCID ID:E-mail:
  • Miller, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, ACT 2601, Australia ORCID ID:E-mail:

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