Virtual Gardening - Part 1
Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a faculty member of the Biology faculty of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. It was an informal gathering, but between the peanuts, beer and cola he told me some pretty interesting stuff.
First we were talking about the adaptation qualities some plants seem to have. The creative ways a lot of plants seem to have when it comes to adapting to changes in the environment.
My before this blog post unknoqn researcher told me that in fact we are constantly witnessing how organisms are adapting to their environment. Take a look at a lot of plants growing together compared to some “loners” of the same species in an isolated spot.
The competition between plants will cause those growing in close proximity to each other to develop longer stems, larger leaf and a clear upright position toward the sun. This is really a nice try to eliminate the competition. The grow high and form large leafs to get the most sunlight on the system.
But how do they do it?
It seems like a smart move, but how do they do it. Humans living in densely populated areas are no different than those living in rural areas.
There seem to be a few mechanisms involved in this process. Think about the overall influence of photosynthesis. A lot of plants on a small piece of land mean low sunlight conditions at the bottom. Plants notice changes in light, but also they detect the amount of output from their surrounding fellow plants.
They therefore "know" how they are doing among compared to their peers. And there also seem to be relationships’ based on mutuality. There is a lot still to be learned , but in computer models they can go a long way in predicting these phenomena he told me
At Wageninging, we develop 3D models of growth and development. In our computer model we also program data about the know adaptation mechanisms in and adjust when needed.Building a virtual garden that way you can easily try out new ways of planting, combining species, changing lighting conditions and calculate an optimum for a plant to max. produce.
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