Abstract

Often, the goal of plant science experiments is to model plant response as a function of quantitative treatment factors, such as the amount of nutrient applied. As the number of factors increases, modeling the response becomes increasingly challenging, especially since the resources available for such experiments are usually severely limited. Typical methods of analysis, notably second-order response surface regression, often fail to accurately explain the data. Alternatives such as non-linear models and segmented regression have been used successfully with two-factor experiments (Landes, et. aI, 1999). This paper extends previous work to three-and-more factor experiments. Models are assessed to explain the relationship between the levels of nutrients applied and leaf, root, and shoot responses of Poinsettias from an experiment conducted by horticultural researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. These data illustrate problems that are representative of those that plant researchers typically face. Multiple regression using the Hoed function proved to be especially useful. These analyses suggest a feasible approach to design of experiments suitable for a wide variety of plant science applications with multiple factors and limited resources.

Keywords

Factorial experiment, response surface methods, nonlinear regression, incomplete factorial design

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Apr 29th, 2:30 PM

MODEL BUILDING IN MULTI-FACTOR PLANT NUTRITION EXPERIMENTS

Often, the goal of plant science experiments is to model plant response as a function of quantitative treatment factors, such as the amount of nutrient applied. As the number of factors increases, modeling the response becomes increasingly challenging, especially since the resources available for such experiments are usually severely limited. Typical methods of analysis, notably second-order response surface regression, often fail to accurately explain the data. Alternatives such as non-linear models and segmented regression have been used successfully with two-factor experiments (Landes, et. aI, 1999). This paper extends previous work to three-and-more factor experiments. Models are assessed to explain the relationship between the levels of nutrients applied and leaf, root, and shoot responses of Poinsettias from an experiment conducted by horticultural researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. These data illustrate problems that are representative of those that plant researchers typically face. Multiple regression using the Hoed function proved to be especially useful. These analyses suggest a feasible approach to design of experiments suitable for a wide variety of plant science applications with multiple factors and limited resources.