16 Mar 2018
13 Feb 2018
31 Jan 2018
Tree in winter. © INRA, Hervé Cochard

How light and wind shape tree architecture

In this virtual ecosystem, trees compete for light, change their growth patterns in response to wind, and experience storms that can snap their branches. The researchers found that light competition and wind selected for fractal forms—morphological patterns that repeat themselves (are "self-similar") across different scales. Such self-similarity* has been observed in real trees by ecologists and forestry scientists. Consequently, it is possible that light and wind acted in tandem over evolutionary time to sculpt the current architecture of trees. These findings were published on October 18, 2017, in Nature Communications.

  • Biofilm mixte de Lactococcus lactis (coques jaunes) et de Listeria monocytogenes (bâtonnets roses), observé en microscopie électronique à balayage.. © inra, Thierry MEYLHEUC
  • Supermarché. © MAITRE Christophe
  • Ciel d'orage en Eure et Loir.. © INRA, WEBER Jean
  • Floating market.. © INRA, Chloé Le Bastard
  • Céréales et tournesols fleuris sur fond de ciel.. © INRA, BEGUEY Alain