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Dr. Alexander Bucksch

Associate Professor
Computational Plant Science

An increasing human population faces the growing demand for agricultural products and accurate global climate models that account for individual plant morphologies to sustain human life. Both demands are ultimately rooted in an improved understanding of the mechanistic origins of plant development and their resulting phenotypes. Such understanding requires geometric and topological descriptors to characterize plant phenotypes and to link phenotypes to genotypes. However, the current plant phenotyping framework relies on simple length and diameter measurements, which fail to capture the exquisite architecture of plants. My research aims to set new frontiers in combining plant phenotyping with recent results from shape theory at the interface of geometry and topology. The core technical method I use is to expand and apply the mathematical concept of a “shape descriptor” to the plant sciences. Shape descriptors describe the current state and growth of complex structures, including the rich geometric and topological characteristics of plants. More generally, understanding adaptation of plants to their environments is best observed within imaging data capturing the spatial arrangement of plant organs forming the plant phenotype. Spatial arrangements appear in leafs, branches, roots etc. on all biological scales. A full understanding the formation of morphological phenotypes requires analysis of the interplay with the underlying formation processes on cellular and genetic scales. Applying and extending shape theory for plants is the centerpiece of my current work towards unravelling the formation of plant phenotypes. In doing so, I utilize data collected with various imaging instruments from which shapes are extracted to apply shape descriptions.

  • Ph.D Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands 2011
  • Brandenburg University of Technology, Germany 2005
  • Brandenburg University of Technology, Germany 2003
Selected Publications:

2020:DIRT/3D: 3D root phenotyping for field grown maize (Zea mays)
S. Liu, C.S. Barrow, M. Hanlon, J.P. Lynch, A. Bucksch
BioARXIV Pre-print.

2020:Image-based root phenotyping could improve hidden hunger in developing countries
N. Busener, J. Kengkanna, P. Saengwilai, A. Bucksch
Plants People Planet.

2019: Architectural and anatomical responses of maize roots to agronomic practices in a semi‐arid environment
Zhan, A., Liu, J., Yue, S., Chen, X., Li, S., Bucksch, A.
Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science.

2019:Phenotypic variation of cassava root traits and their responses to drought
Kengkanna, J., Jakaew, P., Amawan, S., Busener, N., Bucksch, A., & Saengwilai, P.
Applications in plant sciences,7(4), e01238.

2018: Optical approaches to capture plant dynamics in time, space, and across scales
E. Puttonen, A. Bucksch, A. Zlinszky, N. Pfeifer
Frontiers in Plant Science 9

2018: Comparing phenotypic variation of root traits in Thai rice (Oryza sativa L.) across growing systems
P. Saengwilai, S. Klinsawang, M. Sangachart, A. Bucksch
Applied Ecology and Environmental Research 16(2), pp.1069-1083

2017: The Next Generation of Training for Arabidopsis Researchers: Bioinformatics and Quantitative Biology
J. Friesner, S. Assmann, R. Bastow, J. Bailey-Serres, J. Beynon, V. Brendel, C.R. Buell, A. Bucksch, W. Busch, T. Demura, J. Dinneny, C. Doherty, A. Eveland, P. Falter-Braun, M. Gehan, M. Gonzales, E. Grotewold, R. Gutiérrez, U. Kraemer, G. Krouk, S. Ma, R.J. Markelz, M. Megraw, B. Meyers, J. Murray, N. Provart, S. Rhee, R. Smith, E. Spalding, C. Taylor, T. Teal, K. Torii, C. Town, M. Vaughn, R. Vierstra, D. Ware, O. Wilkins, C. Williams, S. Brady
Plant Physiology 175(4), pp. 1499-1509

2017: Morphological Plant Modeling: Unleashing Geometric and Topological Potential within the Plant Sciences
A. Bucksch, A. Atta-Boateng , A.F. Azihou , D. Battogtokh, A. Baumgartner, B.M. Binder, S. A. Braybrook , C. Chang, V. Coneva, T.J. DeWitt, A.G. Fletcher, M. A. Gehan, D. H. Diaz-Martinez, L. Hong, A. S. Iyer-Pascuzzi, L. L. Klein Laura, S. Leiboff, M. Li, J. P. Lynch, A. Maizel, J. N. Maloof, R. J. C. Markelz, C. C. Martinez, L. A. Miller, W. Mio, W. Palubicki, H. Poorter, C. Pradal, C. A. Price, E. Puttonen, J. B. Reese, R. Rellán-Álvarez, E. P. Spalding, E. E. Sparks, C. N. Topp, J. H. Williams, D. H. Chitwood
Frontiers in Plant Science 8

2016: Overcoming the Law of the Hidden. 
A. Bucksch, A. Das, H. Schneider, N. Merchant, J. S. Weitz
Trends in Plant Science 22(2), pp. 117-123

2014: Image-based high-throughput field phenotyping of crop roots.
A. BuckschJ. Burridge, L. M. York, A. Das, E. Nord, J. S. Weitz, J. P. Lynch
Plant Physiology  Vol. 166:(2), pp. 470-486

2014: A practical introduction to skeletons for the plant sciences.
A. Bucksch
Applications in Plant Sciences Volume 2 Issue 8

2014: The Fiber Walk: A Model of Tip-Driven Growth with Lateral Expansion.
A. Bucksch, G. Turk, J.S.Weitz 
PLoS One, Vol. 9 (1)-e85585

2010: SkelTre - Robust skeleton extraction from imperfect point clouds
A. Bucksch, R. Lindenbergh, M. Menenti
The Visual Computer, Vol.26, No. 10, pp. 1283-1300

Research Areas:

FANR 4700/6700 Computational Plant Science

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