Adrienne Nicotra



Professor Adrienne Nicotra completed a BA at Wellesley College in 1990 and after time working as a Research Assistant at Harvard University went on to conduct Ph.D. research on the ecological implications of plant breeding systems at the University of Connecticut. Upon comletion of her PhD she moved to Australia and conducted post-doctoral research  at Macquarie University and ANU. She took up her current position in 1999 and was awarded a Future Fellowship in 2010. Current research in the lab continues themes in reproductive ecology and evolutionary ecophysiology with a focus on the influence of phenotypic plasticity on plant response to climate change. Adrienne is also Editor in Chief of PrometheusWiki, a wiki site for methods in ecological & environmental plant physiology.


Research awards

Research interests

Research in my lab applies novel approaches in plant comparative ecology to the study of evolutionary ecology and ecophysiology to give insights into patterns and processes underlying plant function at multiple scales.

We are interested in phenotypic plasticity - the range of forms a given genetic individual can exhibit under different environments - and when and how it evolves and when it matters. We also have a soft spot for alpine ecology and enjoy exploring the links between plant reproductive ecology and ecophysiology.

A wide range of projects are underway in the lab and most of these provide options for undergraduate, Honours or PhD projects - see our Research projects for more detail and feel free to contact me if you'd like more information

Recent grants

  • Borvitz, Justin, Margaret Byrne, Adrienne Nicotra, Linda Broadhurst, Jason Bragg and Matthew Daws, 2013-2016 ARC Linkage Grant, Landscape Restoration Genomics for Climate Adaptation in Eucalyptus Foundation Species
  • Nicotra, Richards, Valladares and van Kleunen, 2012-2014, ARC Discovery Grant, Phenotypic plasticity and water use in a changing climate.
  • Mathesius & Nicotra, 2012-2014, ARC Discovery Grant, Environmental regulation of root architecture by a gene controlling auxin transport.
  • Nicotra, 2010-2014, Future Fellowship, Phenotypic plasticity in Plants: Evolution, adaptation and its relevance in a changing climate
  • Nicotra, Hoyle, Steadman, Good, in collaboration with the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the Friends of the ANBG, 2009-2014, Australian alpine seed ecology: Plant conservation and adaptation to climate change





Publications since 2010


    Briceño, V. F., D. Harris-Pascal, A. B. Nicotra, E. Williams and M. C. Ball (2014). "Variation in snow cover drives differences in frost resistance in seedlings of the alpine herb Aciphylla glacialis " Environmental and Experimental Botany in press.

    Cochrane, J. A., G. L. Hoyle, C. J. Yates, J. Wood and A. B. Nicotra (2014). "Predicting the impact of increasing temperatures on seed germination among populations of Western Australian Banksia (Proteaceae) " Seed Science Research.

    Cochrane, J. A., C. Yates, G. L. Hoyle and A. B. Nicotra (2014). "Will among-population variation in seed traits improve the chance of species persistence under climate change? ." Global Ecology and Biogeography in press.

    Cochrane, J. A., C. Yates, G. L. Hoyle and A. B. Nicotra (2014). "Climate warming delays and decreases seedling emergence in a Mediterranean ecosystem." Oikos.

    Cochrane, J. A., C. Yates, G. L. Hoyle and A. B. Nicotra (2014). "Among-population variation in seed traits: an overlooked advantage for species persistence under climate change? ." Global Ecology and Biogeography in press.

    Hoyle, G. L., H. Cordiner, R. B. Good and A. B. Nicotra (2014). "Effects of reduced winter duration on seed dormancy and germination in six populations of the alpine herb Aciphyllya glacialis (Apiaceae)." Conservation Physiology 2(1): cou015.

    Valladares, F., S. Matesanz, M. S. Araujo, L. Balaguer, M. Benito Garzon, W. K. Cornwell, E. Gianoli, F. Guilhaumon, M. van Kleunan, D. E. Naya, A. B. Nicotra , H. Poorter and M. A. Zavala (2014). "The effects of phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation on forecasts of species range shifts under climate change." Ecology Letters in press.

    Xie, H., J. E. Ash, C. C. Linde, S. Cunningham and A. Nicotra (2014). "Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau Uplift Drives Divergence of Polyploid Poppies: <italic>Meconopsis</italic> Viguier (Papaveraceae)." PLoS ONE 9(6): e99177.

    Alcorn, P. J., D. I. Forrester, R. G. B. Smith, D. S. Thomas, R. James, A. B. Nicotra and J. Bauhus (2013). "The influence of site quality on timing of pruning in Eucalyptus pilularis and Eucalyptus cloeziana plantations." Australian Forestry 76(1): 25-36.

    Alcorn, P. J., D. I. Forrester, R. G. B. Smith, D. S. Thomas, R. N. James, A. B. Nicotra and J. Bauhus (2013). "Crown structure and vertical foliage distribution in 4-year-old plantation-grown Eucalyptus pilularis and Eucalyptus cloeziana." Trees-Structure and Function 27(3): 555-566.

    Alcorn, P. J., D. I. Forrester, D. S. Thomas, R. James, R. G. B. Smith, A. B. Nicotra and J. Bauhus (2013). "Changes in Whole-Tree Water Use Following Live-Crown Pruning in Young Plantation-Grown Eucalyptus pilularis and Eucalyptus cloeziana." Forests 4(1): 106-121.

    Goh, C. H., D. F. V. Vallejos, A. B. Nicotra and U. Mathesius (2013). "The Impact of Beneficial Plant-Associated Microbes on Plant Phenotypic Plasticity." Journal of Chemical Ecology 39(7): 826-839.

    Gowland, K. M., M. M. van der Merwe, C. C. Linde, M. A. Clements and A. B. Nicotra (2013). "The host bias of three epiphytic Aeridinae orchid species is reflected, but not explained, by mycorrhizal fungal associations." American Journal of Botany 100(4): 764-777.

    Hoyle, G. L., S. E. Venn, K. J. Steadman, R. B. Good, E. J. McAuliffe, E. R. Williams and A. B. Nicotra (2013). "Soil warming increases plant species richness but decreases germination from the alpine soil seed bank." Global Change Biology 19: 1549-1561.

    Jones, C. S., H. I. Martinez-Cabrera, A. B. Nicotra, K. Mocko, E. M. Marais and C. D. Schlichting (2013). "Phylogenetic Influences on Leaf Trait Integration in Pelargonium (Geraniaceae) : Convergence, Divergence, and Historical Adaptation to a Rapidly Changing Climate." American Journal of Botany 100(7): 1306-1321.

    Richards, C. L., M. Boruta, O. Bossdorf, C. A. C. Coon, C. M. Foust, A. R. Hughes, H. J. Kilvitis, A. L. Liebl, A. B. Nicotra, M. Pigliucci, M. H. Robertson and A. W. Schrey (2013). "Epigenetic mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity." Integrative and Comparative Biology 53: E179-E179.

    Davidson, A. M. and A. B. Nicotra (2012). "Beware: alien invasion. Where to next for an understanding of weed ecology?" New Phytologist 194(3): 602-605.

    Leigh, A., S. Sevanto, M. C. Ball, J. D. Close, D. S. Ellsworth, C. A. Knight, A. B. Nicotra and S. Vogel (2012). "Do thick leaves avoid thermal damage in critically low wind speeds?" New Phytologist 194(2): 477-487.

    Davidson, A. M., M. Jennions and A. B. Nicotra (2011). "Do invasive species show higher phenotypic plasticity than native species and, if so, is it adaptive? A meta-analysis." Ecology Letters 14(4): 419-431.

    Gowland, K. M., J. T. Wood, M. A. Clements and A. B. Nicotra (2011). "Significant phorophyte (substrate) bias is not explained by fitness benefits in three epiphytic orchid species." American Journal of Botany.

    Leigh, A., M. A. Zwieniecki, F. E. Rockwell, C. K. Boyce, A. B. Nicotra and N. M. Holbrook (2011). "Structural and hydraulic correlates of heterophylly in Ginkgo biloba." New Phytologist 189(2): 459-470.

    Nicotra, A., A. Leigh, C. K. Boyce, C. D. Jones, K. J. Niklas, D. L. Royer and H. Tsukaya (2011). "The evolution and functional significance of leaf shape in the angiosperms." Functional Plant Biology 38: 535-552.

    Nicotra, A. B. and E. McIntosh (2011). "PrometheusWiki: online protocols gaining momentum." Functional Plant Biology 38(11): iii-v.

    Nicotra, A. B., O. K. Atkin, S. P. Bonser, A. M. Davidson, E. J. Finnegan, U. Mathesius, P. Poot, M. D. Purugganan, C. L. Richards, F. Valladares and M. van Kleunen (2010). "Plant phenotypic plasticity in a changing climate." Trends in Plant Science 15(12): 684-692.

    Nicotra, A. B. and A. Davidson (2010). "Adaptive phenotypic plasticity and plant water use." Functional Plant Biology 37(2): 117-127.

    Sack, L., W. K. Cornwell, L. S. Santiago, M. M. Barbour, B. Choat, J. R. Evans, R. Munns and A. B. Nicotra (2010). "A unique web resource for physiology,ecology and the environmental sciences: PrometheusWiki." Functional Plant Biology 37(8): 687-693.

All publications

Updated:  28 May 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB