Brett A. Huggett

Associate Professor of Biology



Carnegie Science Hall, Room 345


Ph.D.  2013 – Harvard University

Study Abroad Adviser for Biology Majors

I have an enduring fascination with physiological and morphological adaptations and/or responses among tree species to long-term or seasonal stress factors. Working closely with students , I focus on understanding the physiological responses of trees to biotic/abiotic stress with a particular interest in plant water relations and carbon allocation. Research topics that interest me include: xylem structure and function in response to drought; pathogen impacts on growth and productivity of woody plants; and the analysis of carbon allocation patterns in woody plants in an effort to improve our understanding of forest responses to climate change. Such studies in plant physiology are enhanced by my in-depth research in plant anatomy and morphology. Understanding how plant structure and function are influenced by pressures in the growing environment, or by interactions with other organisms, will greatly improve our understanding of tree health and ecosystem dynamics.


Selected Publications

(* denotes student co-authors)

Bouda, M., B. A. Huggett, K. A. Prats, J. W. Wason, J. P. Wilson and C. R. Brodersen. 2022. Hydraulic failure as a primary driver of xylem network evolution in early vascular plants. Science, 378 (6620): 642-646.

Furze, M.E., D.K. Wainwright, B.A. Huggett, T. Knipfer, A.J. McElrone, and C.R. Brodersen. 2021. Ecologically driven selection of nonstructural carbohydrate storage in oak trees, New Phytologist.

McIntire, C.D., B.A. Huggett, Emma Dunn*, I.A. Munck, M.A. Vadeboncoeur, H. Asbjornsen. 2021. Pathogen-induced defoliation impacts on transpiration, leaf gas exchange, and non-structural carbohydrate allocation in Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), Trees: Structure and Function, 35(2), 357-373.

Furze, M.E., B.A. Huggett, M. Wieringa, E. Aubrecht, M.S. Carbone, X. Xiaomei, C. Czimczik, and A.D. Richardson. 2020. Seasonal fluctuation in nonstructural carbohydrates within tree organs reveals the metabolic availability of older stemwood reserves. Tree Physiology, tpaa080,

Wason, J.W., C.R. Brodersen, and B.A. Huggett. 2019. The functional implications of the presence or absence of intervessel connections across growth rings of four northern hardwood trees. Annals of Botany.

Furze, M.E., B.A. Huggett, E. Aubrecht, C. Stolz, M.S. Carbone, A.D. Richardson. 2018. Whole-tree nonstructural carbohydrate budgets and seasonal dynamics in five temperate species. New Phytologist, doi: 10.1111/nph.15462.

Wason, J.W., K. Anstreicher, N. Stephansky*, B.A. Huggett, C.R. Brodersen. 2018. Hydraulic safety margins and segmentation in roots, trunks, branches, and petioles of four northern hardwood trees. New Phytologist, 219.1 (2018): 77-88.

Tomlinson, P.B., A. Ricciardi*, and B.A. Huggett. 2018. Cracking the Omega code: hydraulic architecture of the cycad leaf axis. Annals of Botany, 121, 483-488.