Brett T. WolfeDr. Brett Wolfe

Assistant Professor


Room 338, RNR Building
Baton Rouge, LA 70803

phone: (225) 578-7086


  • Ph.D Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 2015
  • M.S. Soils, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, 2010
  • B.S. Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, 2004

Research Interests

My research is focused on developing a mechanistic understanding of plant-environment interactions, with an emphasis on plant-water relations. Plants take up and transpire vast quantities of water, forming an important component of Earth’s water cycle. And, like all living organisms, plants require water to survive. I study how plants regulate their internal water status as they face dynamic environmental conditions including droughts and flooding. My research integrates theory and modeling with observational studies and experiments in order develop a predictive science that can project how plants and ecosystems will function under out-of-sample conditions, such as those associated with global change.

Prospective Students

There are several possible funding opportunities for M.S. or Ph.D. students and for undergraduate research in my lab. If you interested, send an email. Please include a cv and brief statement of interest.

Selected Publications

  • Wolfe BT. 2020. Bark water vapour conductance is associated with drought performance in tropical trees. Biology Letters 16: 20200263. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2020.0263
  • Serbin SP, Wu J, Ely KS, Kruger EL, Townsend PA, Meng R, Wolfe BT, Chlus A, Wang Z, Rogers A. 2019. From the Arctic to the tropics: multi-biome prediction of leaf mass per area using leaf reflectance. New Phytologist 224:1557-1568. doi: 10.1111/nph.16123
  • Wu J, Rogers A, Albert L, Ely KS, Prohaska N, Wolfe BT, Oliviera RC, Saleska S, Serbin SP. 2019. Leaf reflectance spectroscopy captures variation in carboxylation capacity across species, canopy environment and leaf age in lowland moist tropical forests. New Phytologist 224:663-674. doi: 10.1111/nph.16029
  • Wolfe BT, Macchiavelli R, Van Bloem SJ. 2019. Seed rain along a gradient of degradation in Caribbean dry forest: Effects of dispersal limitation on the trajectory of forest recovery. Applied Vegetation Science 22:423-434. doi: 10.1111/avsc.12444
  • Trugman AT, Anderegg LDL, Wolfe BT, Birami B, Ruehr NK, Detto M, Bartlett MK, Anderegg WRL. 2019. Climate and plant trait strategies determine tree carbon allocation to leaves and mediate future forest productivity. Global Change Biology 25:3395-3405. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14680
  • Anderegg WRL, Wolf A, Arango-Velez A, Choat B, Chmura DJ, Jansen S, Kolb T, Li S, Meinzer F, Pita P, Resco de Dios V, Sperry JS, Wolfe BT, Pacala S. 2018. Woody plants optimize stomatal behaviour relative to hydraulic risk. Ecology Letters 21:968-977. doi: 10.1111/ele.12962
  • Wolfe BT. 2017. Retention of stored water enables tropical tree saplings to survive extreme drought conditions. Tree Physiology 37:469-480. doi:10.1093/treephys/tpx001
  • Wolfe BT, Sperry JS, Kursar TA. 2016. Does leaf shedding protect stems from cavitation during seasonal droughts? A test of the hydraulic fuse hypothesis. New Phytologist 212:1007-1018. doi: 10.1111/nph.14087
  • Sperry JS, Wang Y, Wolfe BT, Mackay DS, Anderegg WRL, McDowell NG, Pockman WT. 2016. Pragmatic hydraulic theory predicts stomatal responses to climatic water deficits. New Phytologist 212:577-589. doi: 10.1111/nph.14059
  • Wolfe BT, Kursar TA. 2015. Diverse patterns of stored water use among saplings in seasonally dry tropical forests. Oecologia 179:925-936. doi: 10.1007/s00442-015-3329-z
  • Wolfe BT, Dent DH, Deago J, Wishnie MH. 2015. Forest regeneration under Tectona grandis and Terminalia amazonia plantation stands managed for biodiversity conservation in western Panama. New Forests 46:157-165. doi: 10.1007/s11056-014-9448-2