US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Pamela E. Padgett

Research Plant Physiologist
USFS Pacific Southwest Research
Riverside, CA 92507
Phone: 951-680-1584
Fax: 951-680-1584
Contact Pamela E. Padgett

Current Research

My primary research effort uses experimental studies to understand the interactions between lichens, plants, and plant communities and their environment, particularly air pollution and other human disturbances. Most of the studies are conducted under controlled conditions such as in greenhouses or growth chambers, or in research plots settings in the field. The scientific approach is to control the overall environment while changing one or two environmental characteristics in an effort to understand the cause and effect relationship between an environmental factor and a biological response.  This approach has enabled us to separte the effects of individual air pollutants, for example ozone and nitric acid which typically co-occur.  Or air pollution and drought stress, which have negative synergistic effects on plant physiology. 

Secondary research efforts include understanding the effects of deposition of particulate pollutants on plants and plant communities.  Particulates can cause both physical damage to plants such as coating surfaces and reducing light penetration to photosynthetic systems, or chemical damage by changing the nutrient balance within leaves.  My research has also explored the changes in plant communities due to an initial catastrophic disturbance such as fire, and subsequent chronic disturbances due to nitrogen containing pollutants that shift the competative balance between native and exotic plant plant species.  This work has major implications for critical habitat protection and restoration.  

Research Interests

I maintain many active collaborations, both within the three branches of the Forest Service, State & Private, National Forest Systems and Research and Development, as well as interagency collaborations with the National Park Service, the US Geological Survey, and several state of California organizations and local groups.  The overarching goal is to provide data and information to assist in the management of public lands and to encouraging the public to value their natural surroundings.


  • University of California, Riverside, PhD Plant physiology, mineral nutrition, and nutrient metabolism, 1993
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., B.S. Agronomy, minor chemistry, 1987

Professional Organizations

  • National Atmospheric Deposition Program, Member

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Last updated on : 10/29/2014