Kate McCulloh

Position title: Rebecca Blank Professor of Botany

Phone: +1 608 890 3042

324 Birge Hall
430 Lincoln Dr
Madison, WI 53706

Email: kmcculloh <at>

Kate’s CV

Current Lab Members

Sam Anderson

Position title: Graduate Student

Email: swanderson<at>

My research is generally focused on the ecological implications of plant morphology and physiology. Specifically, I am focused on how variations in ploidy level impacts woody species at the physiological level.  Ploidy is known to cause a variety of physiological changes in plant lineages, but how these changes impact ecology and abiotic stress tolerance is a relatively young field.  With a background in education and land restoration, I hope my research can foster new insight and connection to local ecology within the broader community.

Malinda Barberio

Position title: Graduate Student

Email: mbarberio <at>

I am especially interested in epiphytic plants, which can be defined as plants growing in tree canopies without roots in the soil. They are a largely understudied group most abundant in the tropics. My research will focus on neotropical epiphytes and their ability to absorb water through foliage. Additionally, I am interested in anatomical features such as trichomes and stomata in order to better understand their influence on water uptake. I hope that my research can better inform the community on the eco physiological properties of epiphytes while providing insights on the impacts of shifting climate and weather patterns to these species.

Lena Berry

Position title: Graduate Student

Email: lnberry<at>

Cycads are often referred to as “living fossils” with lineages dating back hundreds of millions of years. Despite their extensive lineages, cycads are an understudied group of plants. While their morphology is seemingly similar throughout history, their physiology has diversified over time allowing them to remain extant. My research will focus on elucidating the hydraulic function and water use strategies of cycads through the lens of both physiological traits/functionality and ecological/environmental influences.

Christopher Krieg

Position title: Research Associate

Email: ckrieg <at>

My research interests broadly aim to understand the evolutionary and ecological significance of plant function. In particular, a common theme in my work is how adaptive plant physiological traits impact species distributions and ecologies. To conduct my work, I often integrate diverse methods including plant gas-exchange, hydraulics, stable isotopes, functional anatomy, species niche and distribution modelling, and often in an evolutionary context. The primary areas of my long-term research interests are multifarious and range from the ecophysiology of polyploid plants, conservation physiology of cycads, drought responses in vascular plants, and the phenotypic and functional consequences of domestication in crop legumes. For more information, check out my website

Duncan Smith

Position title: Research Associate

Email: ddsmith3 <at>

Duncan’s CV

The coordination of plant architecture, xylem anatomy and stomatal responses represents a “hydraulic strategy” that should greatly influence a plant’s ability to survive. I am interested in the strategies that different species of plants employ that allow them to succeed under varied environmental conditions. Much of my PhD work focused on plants experiencing more or less ideal conditions but in the McCulloh lab I will address responses to drought and its alleviation. Understanding these responses will be increasingly important to predict landscape-level changes in a warming climate. These issues will be addressed through field and lab studies and modeling.

Former Lab Members

Steven Augustine

Position title: PhD 2023

Maegan Gagne

Position title: PhD 2019

Rachel Jordan

Position title: Masters degree 2023

Kelly Kerr

Position title: Masters degree 2014

Kim O’Keefe

Position title: Research Associate 2017-2021

Jeannine Richards

Position title: Research Associate 2021-2022

Amanda Salvi

Position title: PhD 2020

Alex Wenthe

Position title: Masters degree 2017