James Richards

James Richards

Position Title

Department of Land Air and Water Resources, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

2226 Plant and Environmental Sciences Building

Research Interests

Plant physiological ecology, Plant mineral nutrition, Stress physiology, Soil-plant interelationships, Plant adaptation to climate

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Grad Group in Ecology; Soils and Biogeochemistry Grad Group

Specialties / Focus

  • Environmental and Integrative Biology


  • SAS 11 California Geography, Fall
  • SSC 208 Soil-Plant Interrelationships, Winter (even yrs)
  • PBI 210 Plant Ecophysiology, Winter (odd yrs)
  • ECL 290 Plant Ecophysiology Discussion/Seminar, Winter (odd yrs)
  • PLS 158 Mineral Nutrition of Plants , Spring (odd yrs)


  • Plant Physiological Ecology and Root Ecology http://lawr.ucdavis.edu/directory_facultypages.php?id=24
    • Lisa Auchincloss Ben Janes

Field Sites

  • Mono Basin Ecosystem Research Site (MBERS)
  • Sacramento River (RM192) Cottonwood Establishment Site


  • 1970 BS Biology California Institute of Technology
  • 1981 PhD Botany (Plant Ecology) University of Alberta, Canada


Des Marais DL, McKay JK, Richards JH, Sen S, Wayne T, Juenger TE. 2012. Physiological genomics of response to soil drying in diverse Arabidopsis accessions. Plant Cell 24:893-914. [doi:10.1105/tpc.112.096180]

Lasky JR, Des Marais DL, McKay JK, Richards JH, Juenger TE, Keitt TH. 2012. Characterizing genomic variation of Arabidopsis thaliana: the roles of geography and climate. Molecular Ecology In press.

Drenovsky RE, Koehler CE, Skelly K, Richards JH. 2012. Potential and realized nutrient resorption in serpentine and non-serpentine chaparral shrubs and trees. Oecologia in press.

Smesrud JK, Benson CH, Albright WH, Richards JH, Wright S, Israel T, Goodrich K. 2012. Using pilot test data to refine an alternative cover design in Northern California. International Journal of Phytoremediation. 14:76-93. [doi: 10.1080/15226514.2011.607871]

Lazarus BE, Richards JH, Claassen VP, O’Dell RE, Ferrell MA. 2011. Species specific plant-soil interactions influence plant distribution on serpentine soils. Plant and Soil 342:327–344. [doi:10.1007/s11104-010-0698-2]

Zona D, Oechel WC, Richards JH, Hastings S, Kopetz I, Ikawa H, Oberbauer S. 2011. Light stress avoidance mechanisms in a Sphagnum-dominated wet coastal Arctic tundra ecosystem in Alaska. Ecology. 92:633–644. [doi:10.1890/10-0822.1]

Drenovsky RE, Martin AM, Falasco MR, Richards JH. 2011. Comparative ecology of Sarcobatus baileyi and S. vermiculatus in eastern California. Western North American Naturalist 71:234-239.

Lazarus BE, Richards JH, Gordon PE, Oki LR, Barnes CS. 2011. Plasticity tradeoffs in salt tolerance mechanisms among desert Distichlis spicata genotypes. Functional Plant Biology 38:187-198. [doi:10.1071/FP10192]

Aanderud ZT, Richards JH, Svejcar T, James JJ. 2010. A shift in seasonal rainfall reduces soil organic carbon storage in a cold desert. Ecosystems 13: 673-682. [doi:0.1007/s10021-010-9346-1]

Drenovsky RE, James JJ, Richards JH. 2010. Variation in nutrient resorption by desert shrubs. Journal of Arid Environments 74: 1564-68. [doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2010.05.030]

Juenger TE, Sen S, Bray E, Stahl E, Wayne T, McKay J, Richards JH. 2010. Exploring genetic and expression differences between physiologically extreme ecotypes: comparative genomic hybridization and gene expression studies of Kas-1 and Tsu-1 accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant, Cell and Environment 33: 1268-1284.

Richards JH, Janes BR. 2010. Tolerance limits, Plant. pp. 663-667 IN: Simberloff D, Rejmánek M, eds. Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions, University of California Press.

Breen AN, Richards JH. 2010. Seed dispersal, seed capture, and seedling recruitment in a temporally variable desert playa. Western North American Naturalist 70: 55-66.

Aanderud ZT, Richards JH. 2009. Hydraulic redistribution may stimulate decomposition. Biogeochemistry. 95: 323-333.

McKay JK, Richards JH, Nemali KS, Sen S, Mitchell-Olds T, Boles S, Stahl EA, Wayne T, Juenger TE. 2008. Genetics of drought adaptation in Arabidopsis thaliana II. QTL analysis of a new mapping population, Kas-1 x Tsu-1. Evolution 62: 3014 – 3026.

James JJ, Richards JH. 2007. Influence of temporal heterogeneity in nitrogen supply on competitive interactions in a desert shrub community. Oecologia 152:721-727.

Caird MA, Richards JH, Hsiao TC. 2007. Significant transpirational water loss occurs throughout the night in field-grown tomato. Functional Plant Biology 34:172-177.

Caird MA, Richards JH, Donovan LA. 2007. Nighttime stomatal conductance and transpiration in C3 and C4 plants. Plant Physiology 143:4-10.

James JJ, Richards JH. 2006. Plant nitrogen capture in pulse-driven systems: interactions between root responses and soil processes. Journal of Ecology 94:765-777.

James JJ, Alder NN, Muehling KH, Laeuchli AE, Shackel KA, Donovan LA, Richards JH. 2006. High apoplastic solute concentrations in leaves alter water relations of the halophytic shrub, Sarcobatus vermiculatus. Journal of Experimental Botany 57:139-147.

Drenovsky RE, Richards JH. 2006. Low leaf N and P resorption contributes to nutrient limitation in two desert shrubs. Plant Ecology 183:305-314.

O'Dell RE, James JJ, Richards JH. 2006. Congeneric serpentine and nonserpentine shrubs differ more in leaf Ca:Mg than in tolerance of low N, low P, or heavy metals. Plant and Soil 280:49-64.

Juenger, T.E., McKay, J.K., Hausmann, N., Keurentjes, .J, Sen S., Stowe, K.A., Dawson, T.E., Simms, E.L., Richards, J.H. 2005. Identification and characterization of QTL underlying whole-plant physiology in Arabidopsis thaliana: d13C, stomatal conductance, and transpiration efficiency. Plant, Cell and Environment 28: 697-708

James, J.J., Tiller, R.L., Richards, J.H. 2005. Multiple resources limit plant growth and function in a saline-alkaline desert community. Journal of Ecology 93:113-126.

Drenovsky, R.E., and Richards, J.H. 2004. Critical N:P values: Predicting nutrient deficiencies in desert shrublands. Plant and Soil 259:59-69

McKay, J.K., Richards, J.H., and Mitchell-Olds, T. 2003. Genetics of drought adaptation in Arabidopsis thaliana: I. Pleiotropy contributes to genetic correlations among ecological traits. Molecular Ecology 12: 1137-1151.

Donovan, L.A., Richards, J.H., and Linton, M.J. 2003. Magnitude and mechanisms of disequilibrium between predawn plant and soil water potentials. Ecology 84: 463-470.