Multiscale quantification of morphodynamics: Morpholeaf software for 2D shape analysis

Eric Biot, Millán Cortizo, Jasmine Burguet, Annamaria Kiss, Mohamed Oughou, Aude Maugarny-Calès, Beatriz Gonçalves, Bernard Adroher, Philippe Andrey, Arezki Boudaoud, Patrick Laufs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


A major challenge in morphometrics is to analyse complex biological shapes formed by structures at different scales. Leaves exemplify this challenge as they combine differences in their overall shape with smaller shape variations at their margin, leading to lobes or teeth.Current methods based on contour or on landmark analysis are successful in quantifying either overall leaf shape or leaf margin dissection, but fail in combining the two. Here, we present a comprehensive strategy and its associated freely available platform for the quantitative, multiscale analysis of the morphology of leaves with different architectures. For this, biologically relevant landmarks are automatically extracted and hierarchised, and used to guide the reconstruction of accurate average contours that properly represent both global and local features. Using this method, we establish a quantitative framework of the developmental trajectory of Arabidopsis leaves of different ranks and retrace the origin of leaf heteroblasty. When applied to different mutant forms, our method can contribute to a better understanding of gene function, as we show here for the role of CUC2 during Arabidopsis leaf serration. Finally, we illustrate the wider applicability of our tool by analysing hand morphometrics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3417-3428
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


  • 2D:4D finger length ratio
  • Heteroblasty
  • Image analysis
  • Leaf
  • Multiscale morphometrics


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