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Craig McFarlane and Thomas Pfleeger

Chambers were developed to study the uptake, accumulation and phytotoxicity of environmental pollutants. Each is connected to the computer and other support facilities by quick connects which allow the laboratory to be configured in various ways depending on experimental design. Each chamber consists of two isolation compartments connected only by plant stems. Electronic instruments are used to monitor key physiological processes of both the roots and shoots during the course of plant exposure. The computer controls the exposure conditions (i.e. day length, temperature, nutrient pH, CO2 concentration, etc.) as well as continuously collects information about plant responses (i.e. photosynthetic and transpiration rates). Photosynthesis, transpiration, and mineral nutrient uptake can be individually controlled by manipulating the environment and thus allowing their study in combination with additional stressors. The computer used to accomplish these tasks will be discussed along with other examples of computer use for plant manipulation.

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Peter M. Shaw

A low-cost interactive computer program was designed to assist in teaching landscape plant material classes or any other class that could benefit from the use of computer graphics. The program was written in HyperCard to be used on any Macintosh computer. To illustrate the morphology and to assist in learning the terminology required to identify plants, a dichotomous keying system incorporating computer graphics was developed to lead the student through an interactive lesson. In the process of keying out plants, the student encounters the terminology associated with the groups of plants during the lesson. The student is introduced to plant groups, the terminology, and the concept of the classification process in one interactive lesson.

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John F. Vanderploeg

Computer assisted plant selection coupled with video disc technology allows students with limited experience in plant identification and selection to successfully complete landscape design plans.

The plant selector and video disc components have been integrated into a C.A.D. program producing a complete work station. Students preparing computer generated designs can refer to both the selector and video disc without leaving the C.A.D. environment. This integration has proven to be an effective teaching tool in landscape design instruction.

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Mary Haque, Reginald Baumgardner, and David Price

Several forms of computer technology have been successfully integrated into classes at Clemson University using Mac II computers and MacDraft software. Beginning students are producing professional looking plans with consistent line quality and individual graphic style. Plant selection for designs has been augmented through plant images contained on two videodiscs; Woody Landscape Plants of the Temperate United States and Clemson University Video Encyclopedia of Herbaceous Ornamental. Access is accomplished via MacRAPID© CU, a Hypercard© stack that also provides a linkage to MacCAPS© Terisan. With these two programs, the user can quickly select and view, based on specific criteria, plants suitable for a given landscape.

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George J. Wulster

A software application for the personal computer has been developed using the macro languages of Lotus l-2-3 Release 2.2 and the spreadsheet compiler Baler XE Release 1.0E to provide Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum Thunb.) growers with a tool to track and predict various developmental stages of the crop during greenhouse forcing.

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Michael J. Willett, Preston K. Andrews, and Edward L. Proebsting

The techniques of task analysis and task allocation were applied to the problem of decision support system development in tree fruit production. The task of midwinter freeze protection of peach and nectarine [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] flower buds was chosen as the model system. Sixty-five tasks and subtasks were identified as necessary components of the freeze-protection activity at the testing and subsequent management activity levels. Of these, 45 were done exclusively in the orchard where we wished to focus our efforts to benefit the broadest group of growers. Of these 45 tasks or subtasks, 13 were judged suitable for computerization. These 13 tasks were prioritized in order of importance to growers through a self-administered mail survey that asked how often they would use a computer to perform each task. Based on a 77% rate of return, peach and nectarine growers indicated that they were most likely to use a computer to monitor weather forecasts for general weather and freeze alerts, monitor real-time orchard temperatures, and estimate critical temperature ranges for flower-bud damage. This close interaction also produced additional design and use information for the proposed knowledge-based system, such as data presentation requirements, the presence of a variety of farming styles that often determined how the critical temperature data were produced and used, and the challenges of developing suitable validation data for the users.

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Laura Sue Kippen and W. Timothy Rhodus

A focus group was conducted to ascertain the attitudes and behaviors of wholesale floriculture greenhouse growers toward the use of computers for marketing purposes. The focus group consisted of nine individuals from nine different wholesale greenhouses in the Greater Cleveland - Lorain area. The greenhouses were selected according to their sizes which ranged from one-half acre of production under cover up to 70 acres. Each individual was either the owner of the greenhouse operation or charged with the marketing function in that company. The study was conducted for the purposes of identifying possible factors related to the speed of adoption of computer technology for marketing purposes and its possible future course within the wholesale greenhouse industry. Variables that were identified from the focus group study were tested using a national survey.

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Kent D. Kobayashi and H.C. Bittenbender

Extension personnel and growers need up-to-date information on crops to make sound management decisions. The Farmer's Bookshelf™, a hypermedia information system based on the software HyperCard®, was developed for Macintosh® computers. Since clientele who use IBM-compatible computers could not use the Macintosh version of the Farmer's Bookshelf, we looked into several DOS/Windows™ hypermedia software. Spinnaker PLUS™ (Spinnaker Software Corp.) suited our needs, primarily because it required a minimum of reprogramming. PLUS (Macintosh) converted HyperCard files into PLUS (Macintosh) files. Some programming, fonts, and icons required modifications. PLUS (Macintosh) files were then edited using PLUS (widows). Again, minor editing was necessary. Currently, the PLUS (Windows) files and a runtime version of PLUS (Windows) are distributed to clientele who use IBM-compatible computers. PLUS enables our supporting the Fanner's Bookshelf without having to develop a DOS or Windows version that requires completely new programming and extensive modifications. HyperCard files are readily converted to run under Windows, thus helping us to serve clientele who use either platform.

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Christopher Lindsey, Gary Kling, and Mark Zampardo

UIPLANTS is a program developed under Microsoft Windows to help students in woody plant materials courses. Its many options include an encyclopedic format that displays 256-color high-resolution images of plant identification characteristics and ornamental features coupled with text, side by side image comparisons, “book markers” to return to selected screens, and a slide show that runs a display of images in a user-defined format. The system is being used to study how students learn information presented to them through computers and which program features are most effective in improving plant knowledge. Through computer logging of all student activity within the program and surveys given to the test groups, some basic usage patterns were derived. Students using the program with no incentive tended to use the program in a more comprehensive manner, switching back and forth between the slide show and encyclopedic entries with equal time spent in each. The comparison and “bookmark” features were used but less frequently. Half of the students, given an extra credit incentive based on time, followed this same usage pattern, but the other half simply used the slide show with minimal student–computer interaction.

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Mohamed Benmoussa and Laurent Gauthier

To achieve high yield and better quality of soilless greenhouse tomato, it is necessary to keep the nutrient concentrations in the root environment at the target levels. Dynamic control of the nutrient solution composition can be used for this purpose. We developed a computer program that dynamically adjusts nutrient solution compositions based on various climatic and agronomic characteristics. The program integrates nutrient uptake and crop transpiration models and is part of a general-purpose greenhouse management and control software system developed at Laval University (GX). The architecture of the system and some simulation results comparing the effect of various control scenarios on the evolution of the composition of nutrient solutions are presented.