Computational botany: Advancing plant science through functional-structural plant modelling

Evers, Jochem B.; Letort, Veronique; Renton, Michael; Kang, Mengzhen


The need to integrate the ever-expanding body of knowledge in the plant sciences has led to the development of sophisticated modelling approaches. This special issue focuses on functional-structural plant (FSP) models, which are the result of cross-fertilization between the domains of plant science, computer science and mathematics. FSP models simulate growth and morphology of individual plants that interact with their environment, from which complex plant community properties emerge. FSP models can be used for a broad range of research questions across disciplines related to plant science. This special issue presents the latest developments in FSP modelling, including the novel incorporation of plant ecophysiological concepts and the application of FSP models to address new scientific questions. Additionally, it illustrates the breadth of model evaluation approaches that are performed. FSP modelling is a very active domain of plant research which brings together a wide range of scientific disciplines. It offers the opportunity to address questions in complex plant systems that cannot be addressed by empirical approaches alone, including questions on fundamental concepts related to plant development such as regulation of morphogenesis, as well as on applied concepts such as the relationship between crop performance and plant competition for resources.