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Heather McCarthy, PhD

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Heather McCarthy, Ph.D.

Graduate Program Director

149 George Lynn Cross Hall
770 Van Vleet Oval 
Norman, OK 73019

McCarthy Lab Website

B.S. Environmental Science, Oregon State University, 2000
Ph.D. Ecology, Duke University, 2007
Postdoc,University of California, Irvine, 2007-2011

Research areas:
Plant Biology, Environmental Science, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Ecosystems Ecology, Global Change Biology, Physiological Plant Ecology, Forest ecology, Urban ecology

Research interests:
Dr. McCarthy's research interests include: plant physiological ecology, global change, urban ecology, ecohydrology and elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) effects on forest ecosystems. Her research addresses how trees and forests respond to environmental changes, and, conversely how can they be managed to moderate environmental changes. This research draws on physiological and ecosystem ecology to explore how tree and forest-scale water and carbon cycle processes respond to global change factors, including changes in water availability, extreme weather events, elevated atmospheric CO2, and urbanization. Recent projects include measuring elevated CO2 effects on southern pine forest productivity, and quantifying tradeoffs between water use and carbon uptake in the urban forests of Los Angeles.

Relevant publications:

Maier CA, Johnsen KH, Anderson PH, Palmroth S, Kim D, McCarthy HR, Oren R. (2021). The response of coarse root biomass to long term CO2 enrichment and nitrogen application in a maturing Pinus taeda stand with a large broadleaved component. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.15999.

Avolio ML, Pataki DE, Jenerette GD, Pincetl S, Cavender-Bares J, Weller-Clarke L, Gillespie TW, Hobbie SE, Larson KL, McCarthy HR, Trammell T. (2020). Urban plant diversity in Los Angeles, California: Species and functional type turnover in cultivated landscapes. Plants, People, Planet, 2, 144 – 156.

Ehardt-Kistenmacher C, McCarthy HR, Gibson JP. (2019). Germination, survival, and establishment of a rare riparian species Alnus maritima. Castanea, 84, 144-160.

Du L, Mikle N, Zou Z, Huang Y, Xiao X, Shi Z, Jiang L, de Beurs K, McCarthy HR, Liang J, Luo Y. (2018). Global patterns of extreme drought-induced loss in land primary production. Science of the Total Environment, 628-629, 611-620.

Litvak E, McCarthy HR, Pataki DE. (2016). A method for estimating transpiration of irrigated urban trees in California. Landscape and Urban Planning, 158, 48-61.

Medlyn BE, Zaehle S, De Kauwe MG, Walker AP, Dietze MC, Hanson P, Hickler T, Jain A, Luo Y, Parton W, Prentice IC, Thornton P, Wang S, Wang Y-P, Weng E, Iversen CM, McCarthy HR, Warren JM, Oren R, Norby RJ. (2015). Using ecosystem experiments to improve vegetation models. Nature Climate Change, 5, 528-534.

Johnsen KH, Keyser TL, Butnor JR, Gonzalez-Benecke CA, Kaczmarek DJ, Maier CA, McCarthy HR and Sun G. (2013). Forest productivity and carbon sequestration of forests in the southern United States, in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Management Options: A Guide for Natural Resource Managers in Southern Forest Ecosystems, Vose JM and Klepzig KD (eds.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, pp. 193 – 248.

McCarthy HR, Pataki, DE, Jenerette GD. (2011). Plant water use efficiency as a metric of urban ecosystem services. Ecological Applications, 21, 3115-3127.

McCarthy HR, Oren R, Johnsen KH, Gallet-Budynek A, Pritchard SG, Cook CW, LaDeau SL, Jackson RB, Finzi AC (2010). Reassessment of plant carbon dynamics at the Duke free air CO2 enrichment site: interactions of atmospheric [CO2] with nitrogen and water availability over stand development. New Phytologist, 185, 514-528.