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Plant Physiologist/Ecophysiologist

Kevin Hutline - 150.jpg



  • Email: khultine[at]dbg.org
  • Phone: 480 481.8195


  • Plant water relations and use
  • Plant nutrient relations
  • Stable isotope ecology
  • Plant physiological responses to episodic disturbance

Personal Statement

My research revolves around the interaction between global change processes, biogeochemical cycles and plant ecophysiology in desert ecosystems (including those in urban, riparian and upland areas). Specific questions I seek to answer include understanding 1) relationships between insect herbivory, resource allocation, and plant mortality, 2) how climate and soil texture interact to underpin the population structure, productivity and distribution of desert plant species and 3) relationships between anthropogenic nitrogen addition (through atmospheric nitrogen deposition, stream inorganic nitrogen loading, etc) and the invasion of non-native plants in desert ecosystems. To this end, I am applying stable isotopic methods, dendrochronological techniques, measurements of plant water relations and measurements in nutrient dynamics to improve our understanding of how desert plant systems function at multiple scales.


Williams, D.G., K.R. Hultine and D.L. Dettman. 2014. Functional trade-offs in succulent stems predict responses to climate change in columnar cacti. Journal of Experimental Botany doi:10.1093/jxb/eru174.

Hultine KR, Burtch KG, and Ehleringer JR. (2013) Gender specific patterns of carbon uptake and water use in a dominant riparian tree species exposed to a warming climate. Global Change Biology 19: 3390-3405

Hultine KR
. Dudley TL. And Leavitt SW. (2013) Herbivory-induced mortality increases with radial growth in an invasive riparian phreatophyte. Annals of Botany 111: 1197-1206

Hultine KR
, and Bush SE. (2011) Ecohydrological consequences of non-native riparian vegetation in the southwestern U.S.: a review from an ecophysiological perspective. Water Resources Research (in press)

Hultine KR, Nagler PL, Morino K. Bush SE, Burtch, KG, Dennison PE, Glenn EP, and Ehleringer JR. (2010) Sap flux-scaled transpiration by tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) before, during and after episodic defoliation by the saltcedar leaf beetle (Diorhabda carinulata). Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 150: 1467-1475

Hultine KR, Belnap J, Dennison PE, Ehleringer JR, Lee ME, Nagler PL, Snyder KA, Uselman SM, van Riper III C, and West JB. (2010). Tamarisk biocontrol in the western United States: ecological and societal implications. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8: 467-474

Hultine, KR, Bush, SE, and Ehleringer JR. (2010). Ecophysiology of riparian cottonwood and willow before, during and after two years of groundwater removal. Ecological Applications 20: 347-361

Hultine KR, Jackson TL, Burtch KG, Schaeffer SM, and Ehleringer JR (2008). Elevated stream inorganic nitrogen impacts on a dominant riparian tree species: results from an experimental riparian stream system. JGR Biogeosciences 113, G04025, DOI:10.1029/2008JG000809

Bush SE, Pataki DE, Hultine KR, West AG, Sperry JS and Ehleringer JR (2007) Wood anatomy constrains stomatal responses to atmospheric vapor pressure deficit in irrigated, urban trees. Oecologia 156, 13-20

Hultine KR, Bush SE, West AG and Ehleringer JR (2007) Population structure, physiology and ecohydrological impacts of dioecious riparian tree species of western North America. Oecologia 154, 85-93

West AG, Hultine KR, Jackson TL and Ehleringer JR (2007) Contrasting hydraulic strategies explain differential summer moisture use of Pinus edulis and Juniperus osteosperma. Tree Physiology 27, 1711-1720)

Hultine KR, Koepke DF, Pockman WT, Fravolini A, Sperry JS, and Williams DG (2006) Influence of soil texture on hydraulic properties and water relations of a dominant warm-desert phreatophyte. Tree Physiology 26, 313-323

Fravolini A, Hultine KR, Brugnoli E, Gazal R, English N, and Williams DG (2005) Precipitation pulse use by an invasive woody legume: the role of soil texture and pulse size. Oecologia 144, 618-627

Huxman TE, Wilcox BP, Scott RL, Snyder KA, Breshears D, Small EE, Hultine KR, Pockman WT and Jackson RB (2005) Woody plant encroachment and the water cycle: an ecohydrological framework. Ecology 86, 308-319

Hultine KR, Scott RL, Cable WL and Williams DG (2004) Hydraulic redistribution by a dominant, warm-desert phreatophyte: seasonal patterns and response to precipitation pulses. Functional Ecology 18, 530-538

Hultine KR and Marshall JD (2000) Altitude trends in conifer leaf morphology and stable carbon isotope composition. Oecologia 123, 32-40

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