Gretchen North

Professor, Biology; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy

North teaches plant biology, ecology, and introductory biology.


Education: B.A., Stanford University; M.A., University of Connecticut; M.A., College of William and Mary; Ph.D., UCLA

North's research focuses on plant physiological ecology, with an emphasis on the water relations of arid-land plants and plants in the rainforest canopy; she also investigates cellular and subcellular mechanisms of plant water uptake and transport. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. She received the Loftsgordon Outstanding Teaching Award in 2008, the Graham L. Sterliing Memorial Award for distinguished teaching, service, and professional achievement in 2012, and the Linda and Tod White '59 Teaching Prize in 2015.

Courses | Publications | Student Work



North, GB, Browne, MG*, Fukui, K*, Maharaj, FDR*, Phillips, CA*, and Woodside, WT.*2015. A tale of two plasticities: leaf hydraulic conductances and related traits diverge for two tropical epiphytes from contrasting light environments. Plant, Cell and Environment, doi: 10.1111/pce.12697

Coleman-Derr, D., Desgarennes, D., Fonseca-Garcia, C., Gross, S., Clingenpeel, S., Woyke, T., North, G., Visel ,A., Partida-Martinez, L.P. & Tringe, S.G. 2015. Plant compartment and biogeography affect microbiome composition in cultivated and native Agave species. New Phytologist, 209: 798-811.

North, G.B., F.H. Lynch, F.D.R. Maharaj*, C. A. Phillips*, and W.T. Woodside*. 2013. Leaf hydraulic conductance for a tank bromeliad: axial and radial pathways for moving and conserving water. Frontiers in Plant Science 4(78).

Pratt, R.B., A.L. Jacobsen, J. Hernandez, F.W. Ewers, G. B. North, and S.D. Davis.  2012. Allocation tradeoffs among chaparral shrub seedlings with different life history types (Rhamnaceae).  American Journal of Botany 99 (9).

Garrett, T.Y.*, C-V. Huynh* and G. B.  North. 2010. Root contraction helps protect the “living rock” cactus Ariocarpus fissuratus from lethal high temperatures when growing in rocky soil. American Journal of Botany 97(12): 1–11.

Pratt, R. B., G. B. North, A. L. Jacobsen, F. W. Ewers and S.D. Davis. 2009. Xylem root and shoot hydraulics is linked to life history type in chaparral seedlings (Rhamnaceae). Functional Ecology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2009.01613.x

Pratt, R. B., A. L. Jacobsen, G. B. North, L. Sack and H. J. Schenk. 2008. Plant hydraulics: new discoveries in the pipeline. New Phytologist 179: 590-593.

North, G. B., E. K. Brinton* and T.Y. Garrett.* 2008. Contractile roots in succulent monocots: convergence, divergence and adaptation to limited rainfall. Plant, Cell and Environment 31: 1179–1189.

Bobich, E. G. and G. B. North. 2008. Structural implications of succulence: architecture, anatomy, and mechanics of photosynthetic stem succulents, pachycauls, and leaf succulents.  In: De la Barrera E. and Smith W.K., eds. Perspectives in Biophysical Plant Ecophysiology, pp. 3-38; UNAM Press.

North, G. B. and E. A. Baker.* 2007. Water uptake by older roots: evidence from desert succulents. HortScience 42: 1103-1107.

North, G. B. and C. A. Peterson. 2005.  Water flow in roots: structural and regulatory features. In Vascular Transport in Plants. Academic Press/Elsevier Science (in the Physiological Ecology series), pp. 131-156.

North, G. B. 2004. A long drink of water: how xylem changes with depth. New Phytologist 163: 447-449.

North, G. B., P. Martre, and P. S. Nobel. 2004. Aquaporins account for variations in hydraulic conductance for metabolically active root regions of Agave deserti in wet, dry, and rewetted soil.  Plant, Cell and Environment 27: 219-228.

Martre, P., G. B. North, E. G. Bobich, and P. S. Nobel. 2002. Root deployment and shoot growth for two desert species in response to soil rockiness. American Journal of Botany 89: 1933.

Martre, P., R. Morillon, F. Barrieu, G. B. North, P. S. Nobel, and M. J. Chrispeels. 2002. Plasma membrane aquaporins play a significant role during recovery from water deficit. Plant Physiology 130: 2101-2110.

Dubrovsky, J. G. and G. B. North. 2002. Root structure and function. In Cacti: Biology and Uses. University of California Press.

Martre, P., G. B. North, and P.S. Nobel. 2001. Hydraulic conductance and mercury-sensitive water transport for roots of Opuntia acanthocarpa in relation to soil drying and rewetting. Plant Physiology 126: 352-362.

North, G. B. and P. S. Nobel. 2000. Heterogeneity in water availability alters cellular development and hydraulic conductivity along roots of a desert succulent. Annals of Botany 85: 247-255.

North, G.B. and P.S. Nobel. 1998. Water uptake and structural plasticity along roots of a desert succulent during prolonged drought. Plant, Cell and Environment 21: 705-714.

Dubrovsky, J.G., G. B. North, and P. S. Nobel. 1998. Root growth, developmental changes in the apex, and hydraulic conductivity for Opuntia ficus‑indica during drought. New Phytologist 138:75‑82.

Nobel, P. S., M. Castañeda, G. B. North, E. Pimienta-Barrios, and A, Ruiz. 1998. Temperature influences on leaf CO2 exchange, cell viability and cultivation range for Agave tequilana. Journal of Arid Environments 39: 1-9.