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Welcome to The Pratt Laboratory








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R. Brandon Pratt

Associate Professor of Biology

Department of Biology

California State University, Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA 93311 USA

Email rpratt at csub dot edu                                                                     

Phone 661-654-2033  





My students and I study topics in plant physiological ecology in an effort to understand how plants are adapted to the environment.  For the latest results of these studies see the publications link on the left side of this page.

Many of the projects listed below are in collaboration with Anna Jacobsen at CSU Bakersfield. The study of mechanisms of drought-induced mortality is in collaboration with Stephen Davis at Pepperdine University. 

Students that are interested in conducting research in my lab, both undergraduate and graduate students, are encouraged to contact me about research opportunities. 

Current Projects

1. We studying the traits that contribute to resprouting success of California chaparral and South African fynbos shrubs after fire (funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation).  The traits we are examining include leaf traits (leaf hydraulic conductance, photosynthesis, structural traits, nitrogen content, stomatal behavior) and stem and root traits (hydraulic efficiency and safety, biomechanics, carbohydrate storage, tissue density, and anatomical traits).  We are also studying organismal level traits such as growth rates and crown characteristics as well as abiotic factors such as fire intensity.  We are especially interested in how drought and fire interact to influence resprout success. 

2. The main project we are working on at the moment is a study of vascular physiology of evergreen and deciduous California shrubs (funded by an NSF CAREER grant).  This study examines tradeoffs among the various plant vascular function including transport of water, mechanical support of the plant body, and storage of water and carbohydrates.

3. The affect of drought on chaparral shrublands of California is a topic I have been studying for some time.  Ss the series of droughts gripping California become increasingly protracted we are seeing some dramatic effects on landscapes in southern California. With this work we are examining the mechanisms that drive differential mortality among shrubs. We are also examining the drought effects at a landscape scale using an unmanned aerial drone and digital photography.

4. Methods in plant hydraulics have come under scrutiny in recent years and some studies have suggested that some methods involving the use of centrifugal force are not reliable. In an effort to understand the limits to some common methods that are used to study plant vascular function we are conducting a series of studies to determine if these methods do indeed produce erroneous results.

5. I have been interested in the physiological ecology of invasive species since my time as a graduate student at Washington State University. Graduate student Evan MacKinnon has just completed his MS examining the functional traits of invasive and less invasive annual species in the San Joaquin Valley of California.


The Pratt and Jacobsen labs winter 2014.

Post-Doctoral Scholar

Martin Venturas has a PhD from the Technical Univerisyt of Madrid in Spain. He is studying plant hydraulics at CSU Bakersfield.


Undergraduate Students


Marta Percolla is studying stem xylem structure and function of California chaparral shrubs.

Hayden Toschi is studying the xylem structure of chaparral shrubs.

Shana Carey is studying carbohydrate storage in lignotubers and stems of chaparral shrubs.

Photo soon.

Michael Clem "Clem" is studying carbohydrate storage in lignotubers and stems of chaparral shrubs.


Photo soon.





Former Lab Personnel

Evan MacKinnon: Working as an Environmental Scientist with California State Parks, Anza-Borrego.

Samuel DelRio: Planning to attend graduate school.

Christine Hluza: A graduate student at Northern Arizona University

Michael Tobin: Assistant Professor of Biology at University of Houston Downtown.

Courtney Traugh: Applying to graduate schools in Chemical Ecology.

Heather Keldgord: Planning on pursuing a Ph.D. in Plant Ecology.

Alanisha Woods: Pursuing a pharmacy degree in Kansas.

Eddy Lee: Working towards his B.S. in Biology.

Raeanne Quaresma: Studying exercise physiology.

Anna Jacobsen: Assistant Professor of Biology at CSUB

Christine Whitelock: Pursuing an M.S. in insect genetics.

Mark DeGuzman: Mark is pursuing a Ph.D. at UC Riverside with Lou Santiago.

Sergio Barrera: Finishing his B.S. in Biology.

Diana Alleman: Working for environmental consulting agency.

Cuu Nguyen: Attending pharmacy school.

Francisco Millan: Finishing his B.S. in Biology.

Haley O'Mara: Pursuing a M.S. in science education.

Aaron Ramirez: Aaron is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at UC Berkely with David Ackerly.

Udai Sibia:  Udai is currently pursuing a degree in neurobiology at UCLA.

Christopher Doggett: Finishing his B.S. in Biology and working at Bolthouse Farms.

Wendy Bennett: Pursuing interests in animal husbandry.








This site was last updated 08/21/14