Functional-structural plant modeling to understand species mixtures (J Exp Bot)

Mixing different plant species in a single field increases productivity by exploiting species complementarities for capturing resources (i.e. water, nutrients, sunlight). Both competition avoidance responses and individual organ accommodations to the changing environment  contribute to this complementarity. However, modelling is needed to further understand the drivers and dynamics of these complementary-based productivity increases. In this paper, Evers and colleagues advocate for using functional-structural plant (FSP) modelling to elucidate complementary growth responses of species mixtures. FSP modelling uses the behavior of individual organisms interacting with each other through competitive and completmentary resource usage to model crop performance. These models could aid mixed-species research and promote the use of mixtures in agricultural settings. (Summary by Julia Miller) J. Exp. Bot. 10.1093/jxb/ery288