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Parameter estimation for functional–structural plant models when data are scarce: using multiple patterns for rejecting unsuitable parameter sets

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Wang, M., White, N., Hanan, J., He, D., Wang, E., Cribb, B., Kriticos, D. J., Paini, D. and Grimm, V. (2020) Parameter estimation for functional–structural plant models when data are scarce: using multiple patterns for rejecting unsuitable parameter sets. Annals of Botany, 126 (4). pp. 559-570. ISSN 0305-7364

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcaa016


Functional–structural plant (FSP) models provide insights into the complex interactions between plant architecture and underlying developmental mechanisms. However, parameter estimation of FSP models remains challenging. We therefore used pattern-oriented modelling (POM) to test whether parameterization of FSP models can be made more efficient, systematic and powerful. With POM, a set of weak patterns is used to determine uncertain parameter values, instead of measuring them in experiments or observations, which often is infeasible.We used an existing FSP model of avocado (Persea americana ‘Hass’) and tested whether POM parameterization would converge to an existing manual parameterization. The model was run for 10 000 parameter sets and model outputs were compared with verification patterns. Each verification pattern served as a filter for rejecting unrealistic parameter sets. The model was then validated by running it with the surviving parameter sets that passed all filters and then comparing their pooled model outputs with additional validation patterns that were not used for parameterization.POM calibration led to 22 surviving parameter sets. Within these sets, most individual parameters varied over a large range. One of the resulting sets was similar to the manually parameterized set. Using the entire suite of surviving parameter sets, the model successfully predicted all validation patterns. However, two of the surviving parameter sets could not make the model predict all validation patterns.Our findings suggest strong interactions among model parameters and their corresponding processes, respectively. Using all surviving parameter sets takes these interactions into account fully, thereby improving model performance regarding validation and model output uncertainty. We conclude that POM calibration allows FSP models to be developed in a timely manner without having to rely on field or laboratory experiments, or on cumbersome manual parameterization. POM also increases the predictive power of FSP models.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Subjects:Science > Botany > Plant anatomy
Science > Botany > Genetics
Plant culture > Tree crops
Live Archive:12 Aug 2020 22:02
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:46

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