One-dimensional light models using the Beer-Lambert equation (BL) with the light extinction coefficient k are simple and robust tools for estimating light interception of homogeneous canopies. Functional-structural plant models (FSPMs) are powerful enough to capture light-plant interactions in heterogeneous canopies, but they are also more complex due to explicit descriptions of three-dimensional plant architecture and light models.
For choosing an appropriate modeling approach, the trade-offs between simplicity and accuracy need to be considered when canopies with spatial heterogeneity are concerned. The researchers compared two light modelling approaches, one following BL and another using ray tracing (RT), based on a framework of a dynamic FSPM of greenhouse cucumber.
Resolutions of hourly-step (HS) and daily-step (DS) were applied to simulate light interception, leaf-level photosynthetic acclimation and plant-level dry matter production over growth periods of two to five weeks. Results showed that BL-HS was comparable to RT-HS in predicting shoot dry matter and photosynthetic parameters. The k used in the BL approach was simulated using an empirical relationship between k and leaf area index established with the assistance of RT, which showed variation up to 0.2 in k depending on canopy geometry under the same plant density. When a constant k value was used instead, a difference of 0.2 in k resulted in up to 27% loss in accuracy for shoot dry matter.
These results suggested that, with the assistance of RT in k estimation, the simple approach BL-HS provided efficient estimation for long-term processes.
Read the complete research at researchgate.net.
Pao, Yi-Chen & Kahlen, Katrin & Chen, Tsu-Wei & Wiechers, Dirk & Stützel, Hartmut. (2021). How does structure matter? Comparison of canopy photosynthesis using one- and three-dimensional light models: a case study using greenhouse cucumber canopies. in silico Plants. 10.1093/insilicoplants/diab031.