A new phase is under way in the study of how plants interact with their physical and biotic environments. Tools are becoming available for handling three-dimensional (3-D) information on the development and growth of individual plants and activities of the organisms which live on them. These tools will lead to in-depth understanding at the level of plant architecture, intermediate between what goes on at the level of plant cells and physiology and the level of plant stands and biomass. Existing fields of study will be enhanced and new fields opened. Here, we explain why these developments are important and how they are taking place.
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