This white paper exemplifies the need for multi-scale to advance plant science. Understanding how to modify plant morphology is critical to improving crops. Great progress has been made in quantifying and describing form and patterning in plants using mathematical descriptions and simulations. Yet, work needs to be done to link these mathematical descriptions with biological processes to link the inheritance and activity of genes with observed phenotypes and predict phenotypic response to the environment. The authors call for integration of models of different levels of organization to help researchers understand the complex interdependent processes occurring at multiple spatio-temporal scales. These include genetic and functional–structural plant models.
The authors call for cross-disciplinary education, workshops and funding to bridge the gap between mathematics and plant biology to accelerate scientific progress.