Current issue: 53(3)
Under compilation: 53(4)
Accurate assessment of canopy structure is crucial in studying plant-environment interactions. The advancement of functional-structural plant models (FSPM), which incorporate the 3D structure of individual plants, increases the need for a method for accurate mathematical descriptions of leaf shape. A model was developed as an improvement of an existing leaf shape algorithm to describe a large variety of leaf shapes. Modelling accuracy was evaluated using a spatial segmentation method and shape differences were assessed using principal component analysis (PCA) on the optimised parameters. Furthermore, a method is presented to calculate the mean shape of a dataset, intended for obtaining a representative shape for modelling purposes. The presented model is able to accurately capture a large range of single, entire leaf shapes. PCA illustrated the interpretability of the parameter values and allowed evaluation of shape differences. The model parameters allow straightforward digital reconstruction of leaf shapes for modelling purposes such as FSPMs.
A method for the measurement of the three-dimensional (3D) architecture of trees was applied to describe two 20-year-old walnut trees, one of them is a timber tree while the other is a fruit tree. The method works at the shoot level and simultaneously describes the plant topology, the plant geometry and the shoot morphology. The method uses a 3D digitiser (3SPACE® FASTRAK®, Polhemus Inc.) associated with software DiplAmi designed for digitiser control and data acquisition management. Plant images may be reconstructed from the data set by using the ray tracing software POV-Ray. Visual comparison between photographs of the walnut trees and images synthesised from digitising was satisfactory. Distribution of basal shoot diameter, as well as leaf area and fruit distributions for both the timber and the fruit tree were non-uniformly distributed in the crown volume. Gradients were likely to be related to the light distribution within the tree. This is in agreement with previous experimental results on several tree species, and also with the predictions of tree architecture models based on light-vegetation interactions.