Area of Study
Email Address

William Pfitsch studies how plants meet the challenges of living in potentially stressful conditions. Of particular interest are the interactions with soil microorganisms that help plants meet those challenges. In recent years, research in the Pfitsch lab has also focused on the ecological implications of invasive plants in local forests in terms of community composition and ecosystem structure and function. He earned his doctorate in botany at the University of Washington.

Recent Courses Taught

Plant Physiology
Plant Diversity
Environmental Science and Society
Seminar in Tropical Ecology
Tropical Field Studies
General Biology: Cells to Ecosystems

Selected Publications

  • Pfitsch, W. A. and E. H. Williams 2009. "Habitat restoration for lupine and specialist butterflies." Restoration Ecology 17(2):226-233.
  • Pfitsch, W. A. 1994. "Morphological and physiological radiation in paramo Draba." Pp 151-166 in P. W. Rundel, A. P. Smith, and F. C. Meinzer (eds.), Tropical Alpine Environments: Plant Form and Function. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  • Pearcy, R. W. and W. A. Pfitsch 1994. "The consequences of sunflecks for photosynthesis and growth of forest understory plants." Pp 343-359 in E.-D. Schulze and M. M. Caldwell (eds.), Ecophysiology of Photosynthesis. Ecological Studies Vol 100, Springer Verlag.
  • Pfitsch, W.A. and R.W. Pearcy 1992. "Growth and reproductive allocation of Adenocaulon bicolor (Asteraceae) in response to the experimental removal of sunflecks in a redwood forest." Ecology 73:2109-2117.
  • Pearcy, R.W. and W.A. Pfitsch. 1991. "Influence of sunflecks on the d13C of Adenocaulon bicolor plants occurring in contrasting forest understory microsites." Oecologia 86:457-462.
  • Pfitsch, W.A. and R.W. Pearcy 1989. "Daily carbon gain by Adenocaulon bicolor (Asteraceae), a redwood forest understory herb, in relation to its light environment." Oecologia (Berlin) 80:465-470.
  • Pfitsch, W.A. and R.W. Pearcy. 1989. "Steady-state and dynamic photosynthetic response of Adenocaulon bicolor (Asteraceae) in its redwood forest habitat." Oecologia (Berlin) 80:471-476.
  • Pfitsch, W.A. 1988. "Microenvironment and the distribution of two species of Draba (Brassicaceae) in the Venezuelan paramo." Arctic and Alpine Research 20:333-341.
  • Pfitsch, W.A. and L.C. Bliss 1988. "Recovery of net primary production in subalpine meadows of Mount St. Helens following the 1980 eruption." Canadian Journal of Botany 66:989-997.
  • Pfitsch, W.A. and A.P. Smith 1988. "Growth and photosynthesis of Aechmea magdalenae, a terrestrial CAM plant in a tropical moist forest, Panama." Journal of Tropical Ecology 4:199-207.

Professional Affiliations

Ecological Society of America
Sigma Xi

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of Washington
M.S., University of Washington
B.A., Oberlin College

Help us provide an accessible education, offer innovative resources and programs, and foster intellectual exploration.

Site Search