A significant challenge for a program focused at changing the photosynthetic system at the chloroplast level, but aimed at improving the overall growth and yield of a plant, is to have a computational means of predicting and analysing the links between photosynthesis, growth and yield.

We achieved this by developing models of leaf photosynthesis and linking them to models of whole plant growth and development which take environmental inputs such as light, CO2 and temperature.

Program 4 focused on developing a modelling approach that used current computational advances to allow testing and analysis of changes in photosynthetic traits in both a forward and reverse direction which will inform both fundamental experiments and field testing. This program mas led by Professors Graeme Hammer at The University of Queensland and Graham Farquhar at ANU.

Research in this program include:

Developing computational approaches to assess the effect of changes to photosynthetic properties on crop growth

Key outcomes: We developed a cross scale model to simulate the impacts of photosynthesis manipulations on field crop yield.

Developing models which predict the effects of future climate change related to CO2, temperature and water inputs

Key outcomes: We developed mathematical models on crop growth and yield from canopy photosynthesis and improved our understanding of the links between photosynthesis, gas exchange and water relations.

Understanding the influence of leaf structural traits and their adaptation for use in altering photosynthetic performance.

Key outcomes: We modeled and quantified carbon partitioning and the link between photorespiratory cycle and amino acid production

Linking phenotypic trait to gene in target crops wheat, rice and sorghum.

Key outcomes: we identified wheat and rice germplasm with superior photosynthetic traits