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Investigating the influence of geometrical traits on light interception efficiency of apple trees: a modelling study with MAppleT

Han L., Costes E., Boudon F., Cokelaer T., Pradal C., Da Silva D., Faivre R.. 2012. In : Kang Meng Zhen (ed.), Dumont Yves (ed.), Guo Yan (ed.). Plant growth modeling, simulation, visualization and applications. Proceedings PMA12 : The Fourth International Symposium on Plant Growth Modeling, Simulation, Visualization and Applications, Shanghai, China, 31 October-3 November 2012. Piscataway : IEEE, p. 152-159. International Symposium on Plant Growth Modeling, Simulation, Visualization and Applications (PMA12). 4, 2012-10-31/2012-11-03, Shanghai (Chine).

MAppleT is a functional-structural plant model that has been built for simulating architectural development of apple trees. It has the capability of representing tree growth within a virtual space where the development of individual organs depends on geometrical traits. The purpose of this research is to investigate the influence of apple trees' architectural variability on their light interception efficiency. The STAR, i.e. the silhouette to total area ratio, of leaves, was chosen to evaluate the level of such efficiency. The strategy is to integrate MAppleT with the light interception model provided by the Fractalysis module of the VPIants software library. Target values of four major traits (internode length, leaf area, branching angle and top shoot diameter), are varied in range previously observed in a segregating population of apple hybrids. A sensitivity analysis based on polynomial and generalized additive models was performed for highlighting the most influential trait on light interception. The contribution of stochastic processes that control tree topology in MAppleT is also investigated in the sensitivity analysis. This study not only provides a time- and resource-saving alternative for data collection, but also sets a methodology for ideotype definition and further genetic improvement of apple trees.

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