Michael Renton

Dr, Dr, BA W.Aust., CertAppLang TAFE, GradDipEd E.Cowan, PhD Qld

  • The University of Western Australia (M090), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 120, Botany Building, Perth campus

    6009 Perth


  • 1756 Citations
  • 24 h-Index
If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Michael completed his Honours program at UWA in Maths, looking at control in chaotic systems, and his PhD at the University of Queensland in the Centre for Plant Architecture Informatics, looking at new approaches to modelling the interactions between plant form, function and environment with functional-structural plant models (FSPMs). His post-doc in Montpellier, France, married stochastic models with structural models to create virtual apple trees and he then returned to Perth to teach applied maths at UWA, before spending a couple of years creating the Weed Seed Wizard (a model of seedbank dynamics) at the Department of Agriculture and Food. He started as an Assistant Professor in computational agro-ecology in the School of Plant Biology at UWA in a joint appointment with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences in July 2007 and his current projects involve modelling of weeds and seedbank population dynamics, evolution of resistance to herbicides and pesticides, competition and interactions between plants and their environments in natural and managed systems, bio-economic modelling and optimal land use in agricultural systems and mixed-use landscapes, and dispersal of biological organisms.

Roles and responsibilities

Michael has a teaching and research position with UWA Plant Biology. His role involves leading and contributing to research projects, supervising postgraduate and Honours research students and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in biostatistics, simulation modelling, ecology and agriculture.

The modelling approaches in which he has interest and experience include:
• individual-based models and simulation (IBMs)
• L-systems and functional-structural plant models (FSPMs) for modelling dynamic plant architecture
• simulation of evolutionary dynamics and evolutionary optimisation
• numerical/computational simulation of the movement and spread of biological substances or organisms
• constructing statistical 'summary models' to represent more complex bio-physical simulation models
• continuous and discrete dynamical systems, including chaotic systems and S-systems
• applied statistical modelling of biological data, including linear and non-linear modelling, multivariate analysis, Bayesian analysis, and mixed-effect models

Future research

For more information on research or potential student projects, please go to http://www.michaelrenton.info or contact me at michael.renton@uwa.edu.au

Funding overview

See UWA 'Socrates' Research profile and publications link at the bottom of this page for UWA funding.

Older funding includes:
• University of Queensland Early Offer PhD Scholarship 2000
• APA PhD Scholarship 2000
• Top-up PhD scholarship from the Centre for Plant Architecture Informatics 2000
• Grant from INRA for post-doctoral project on ‘Modelling Structural Development of Apple Trees’ in France 2004
• Grant from INRA for six month extension to ‘Modelling Structural Development of Apple Trees’ project 2005
• ‘Weed Seed Wizard’ project funded by CRC for Australian Weed Management 2007-2008 ($50,000)

Previous positions

2005-2007 Dept. of Agriculture and Food, WA Perth, Australia
Research Officer

2005 University of Western Australia Perth, Australia
Applied Mathematics Lecturer

2005 Murdoch University Perth, Australia
Applied Mathematics Tutor

2004 – 2005 National Institute of Agronomic Research Montpellier, France
Post-doctoral Researcher, Plant Architecture Modelling Trainer

2000 – 2003 University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia
Mathematics Tutor, Plant Architecture Modelling Trainer

1999 University of Western Australia Perth, Australia
English Teacher (ESL)

1998 ELS Language School Padang, Indonesia
English Teacher (ESL)

Current projects

For more information on current research or potential student projects, please go to http://www.michaelrenton.info or contact me at michael.renton@uwa.edu.au

Industrial relevance

Agriculture - including cropping and pastures
Ecology and conservation biology

Teaching overview

I currently coordinate and/or teach in the following units:
- SCIE4402 Data Management and Analysis in the Natural Sciences
- SCIE5500 Simulation Modelling in the Natural Sciences (Advanced Modelling)
- PLNT3306 Australian Vegetation
- ENVT2221 Global Climate Change and Biodiversity
- SCIE3314 Agricultural Systems
- SCIE4403 The Conduct, Ethics and Communication of Science


Computational simulation modelling of plants in complex biological, agricultural and ecological systems, including areas such as:
• evolution of herbicide resistance in weeds in agricultural systems and the effect of different genetics and management strategies on the rate of this evolution
• competition between species, individual plants, and parts of plants and the effect of spatial patterns on this competition
• weed seed bank population dynamics and the effects of different seed biology and management strategies
• seed dormancy, germination and persistence, and the influence of environmental factors and management options
• the way that plant structure emerges over time in relationship with physiology and environment
• the optimisation of land use sequencing and analysis of tactical and strategic decisions in agricultural systems, taking into account the effects of factors such as weeds, disease, plant nutrients, yields, economics and climate variability
• water use, root architecture, drought and climate change, in relation to applications such as the prediction and management of the establishment and survival of annual and perennial crop and pasture plants in drought-susceptible environments, or the long-term health of natural ecosystems in the face of climate change
• the spread of invasive biological organisms such as weeds, insects and plant diseases
• predicting the fate of plant species under climate change, accounting for landscape characteristics, population dynamics and dispersal
• constructing useful decision support systems for managing agricultural and natural ecosystems


English (native)
Indonesian (good)
French (good)
Spanish (fair)


  • Ecological and agricultural modelling
  • Functional–structural plant modelling (FSPM)
  • Evolution of resistance to herbicide and pesticides
  • Biosecurity and biological invasion
  • Individual-based modelling
  • Statistical modelling and analysis
  • Complex biological systems
  • Computational simulation
  • Cropping and pasture systems
  • Prediction and management of weeds, pests and diseases

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

  • 6 Similar Profiles
weeds Agriculture & Biology
Pea seed-borne mosaic virus Agriculture & Biology
Western Australia Agriculture & Biology
weed Earth & Environmental Sciences
seeds Agriculture & Biology
phosphorus Agriculture & Biology
herbicide resistance Agriculture & Biology
seed Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2008 2022

Research Output 2003 2018

Accounting for spatially heterogeneous conditions in local-scale surveillance strategies: case study of the biosecurity insect pest, grape phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae (Fitch))

Triska, M. D., Powell, K. S., Collins, C., Pearce, I. & Renton, M., 1 Dec 2018, In : Pest Management Science. 74, 12, p. 2724-2737 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Daktulosphaira vitifoliae
insect pests
case studies
1 Citations (Scopus)

A functional-structural model of ephemeral seagrass growth influenced by environment

Whitehead, S., Cambridge, M. L. & Renton, M., 18 Apr 2018, In : Annals of Botany. 121, 5, p. 897-908 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
environmental factors
Persian Gulf
1 Citations (Scopus)

Community patterns and environmental drivers in hyper-diverse kwongan scrub vegetation of Western Australia

Tsakalos, J. L., Renton, M., Dobrowolski, M. P., Feoli, E., Macintyre, P. D., Veneklaas, E. J. & Mucina, L., 1 Oct 2018, In : Applied Vegetation Science. 21, 4, p. 694-722 29 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

soil texture
soil nutrient
4 Citations (Scopus)

Computational botany: Advancing plant science through functional-structural plant modelling

Evers, J. B., Letort, V., Renton, M. & Kang, M., 18 Apr 2018, In : Annals of Botany. 121, 5, p. 767-772 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
plant competition
computer science
growth models
2 Citations (Scopus)
root diseases
damping off
Linear Models


3D X-ray microscopy scans from the article: "Sediment tolerance mechanisms identified in sponges using advanced imaging techniques."

Strehlow, B. W. (Creator), Pineda, M. C. (Creator), Duckworth, A. (Creator), Kendrick, G. (Creator), Renton, M. (Creator), Abdul Wahab, M. A. (Creator), Webster, N. S. (Creator), Clode, P. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 31 Oct 2017



Data from: Plant-soil feedback and the maintenance of diversity in Mediterranean-climate shrublands

Teste, F. (Creator), Kardol, P. (Creator), Turner, B. (Creator), Wardle, D. A. (Creator), Zemunik, G. (Creator), Renton, M. (Creator), Laliberte, E. (Creator), Dryad Digital Repository, 20 Jan 2017


Assembly and comparison of two closely related Brassica napus genomes

Bayer, P. (Creator), Hurgobin, B. (Creator), Golicz, A. A. (Creator), Chan, C. K. (Creator), Yuan, Y. (Creator), Lee, H. (Creator), Renton, M. (Creator), Meng, J. (Creator), Li, R. (Creator), Long, Y. (Creator), Zou, J. (Creator), Bancroft, I. (Creator), Chalhoub, B. (Creator), King, G. J. (Creator), Batley, J. (Creator), Edwards, D. (Creator), Zenodo, 17 Mar 2017


General Spread Model

Triska, M. (Creator), Renton, M. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 12 Oct 2017



Grape phylloxera spread model

Triska, M. (Creator), Renton, M. (Creator), The University of Western Australia, 16 Oct 2017




PLNT3306 Australian Vegetation

Pauline Grierson & Michael Renton


Teaching unit (UWA): Course