A CEES project
Plants are complex reactive systems. They process water and nutrients, fix carbon dioxide (CO2) into new plant material, decide where to allocate this new carbon (e.g. leaves, roots, stems), and decide when to flower and produce seeds.
Accurate models of this intelligent behaviour -- and how it depends on climate and other factors -- could revolutionize our understanding of natural plant communities, whether natural or agricultural. We hope to arrive at such models for select plant communities, by using an integrated approach encompassing model design, experimental design, and computational statistics. We have a suite of candidate models of plant growth, which we are now parameterizing and selecting between using experimental designs optimized for this purpose. The result should be a new understanding of growth in our selected communities -- e.g. European dune annuals, Bornean raindforests -- but perhaps more importantly, new models and statistical routines that can be used to address the process of plant growth more generally. This could help with anything from understanding biodiversity and ecosystem function, to designing new water- and nutrient-efficient agricultural systems.
- S. Caldararu, D. W. Purves, and P.I. Palmer, Phenology as a strategy for carbon optimality: a global model, in Biogeosciences, vol. 11, 2014.
- Lindsay A Turnbull, Christopher D Philipson, Drew W Purves, and AndOthers, Plant growth rates and seed size: a re-evaluation, in Ecology, vol. 93, no. 6, pp. 1283-1289, Ecological Society of America, June 2012.
- John P. Caspersen, Mark C. Vanderwel, William G. Cole, and Drew W. Purves, How stand productivity results from size- and competition-dependent growth and mortality, in PLoS ONE, vol. 6, no. 12, pp. e28660, December 2011.
- C.E. Timothy Paine, Toby R Marthews, Deborah R Vogt, Drew Purves, Mark Rees, Andy Hector, and Lindsay A Turnbull, How to fit nonlinear plant growth models and calculate growth rates: an update for ecologists, in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, British Ecological Society, September 2011.
- Yann Hautier, Andy Hector, Eva Vojtech, Drew Purves, and Lindsay Turnbull, Modelling the Growth of Parasitic Plants, in Journal of Ecology, 2010.
- Lindsay A Turnbull, Cloe Paul-Victor, Bernhard Schmid, and Drew W Purves, Growth rates, seed size and physiology - Do small-seeded species really grow faster?, in Ecology, vol. 89, pp. 1352-1363, January 2008.