An approach to crop modeling with the energy cascade.

T. Volk, B. Bugbee, R. M. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Use of plants in advanced life support requires models of crop growth to analyze data, to evaluate areas for improvement, and, for design and engineering, to predict the gas exchanges of crops. We used data from experiments at Utah State University and the Kennedy Space Center for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and examined it for time dependence of the major three components in the energy cascade: photosynthetic photon absorption, canopy quantum yield, and carbon use efficiency. From the Utah State data, we developed a model with a total of five trends: absorption increasing until canopy closure, then constant; quantum yield as constant, then decreasing during senescence; carbon use as constant. This system probably is the lower limit of simplicity to which a model can be reduced and yet provide substantial utility. We demonstrated this utility by using the model to predict photosynthesis and respiration for experiments at Kennedy Space Center. The most uncertainty arose in predicting a start time for the senescent decrease of canopy quantum yield. The model should be generally applicable to other crops grown in controlled environments, as a generic tool for the design of life support systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalLife support & biosphere science : international journal of earth space
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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