Brant Touchette

Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies and Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies
McMichael Science Building 003K
2015 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244 (336) 278-6185


  • Ph.D., Botany, with minor in Plant Physiology, Department of Botany, North Carolina State University, 1999,
  • M.S., Ocean Science (Marine Science), Nova Southeastern University, Oceanographic Center, Dania, FL, 1993,
  • B.A., Biology, Department of Biology, University of Delaware, 1990.

Employment History

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, North Carolina State University (1999-2001),
  • Biology Instructor, Department of Allied Health and Science, Wilson Technical Community College, Wilson, NC (2000-2001),
  • Environmental Instructor, Marine Sciences Under Sails – Environmental Education Program, Davie, FL (1990-1993),
  • Environmental Consultant, Coastal Science Associates, Jacksonville Beach, FL (1991-1993),
  • Environmental Specialist, Office of Natural Resource Protection and Nova University Oceanographic Center, Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (1992-1993),
  • Environmental Consultant, Florida’s Oil Spill Response Group, Port Everglades, FL (1991),
  • Research Technician, Environmental Center, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD (1987-1990),
  • Biological Assistant, Chesapeake Bay Estuary Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Annapolis, MD (1984-1986).

Courses Taught

Biological Sciences (Elon University & Wilson Tech.):

  • BIO 094 Concepts in Human Biology,
  • BIO 111 Principles of Biology,
  • BIO 101 Topics in General Biology,
  • BIO 102 General Biology Laboratory,
  • BIO 105 Current Issues in Biology – Economic Botany,
  • BIO 114 Population Biology Laboratory,
  • BIO 222 General Botany,
  • BIO 271 Ethnobotany,
  • BIO 342 Plant Physiology,
  • BIO 371 Harmful Algae,
  • BIO 442 Aquatic Biology: Study of Inland Waters. 

Environmental Studies:

  • ENS 111 Introduction to Environmental Science,
  • ENS 113 Environmental Science Laboratory,
  • ENS/BIO 378 Wetland Ecology & Management.

General Studies:

  • GST 314 Plants and Society.


My research interests center on the ecology of aquatic and wetland systems.  More specifically, I am interested in how aquatic plants survive in areas that are typically hostile to most species. Aquatic plants often reside in submerged or flooded conditions where the substratum lacks oxygen and has redoxymorphic features that are typically stressful for most flowering plants. In coastal and marine systems, this stress is exacerbated by the presence of interstitial saline waters.  By characterizing the environmental limits and physiological adaptations to these otherwise harsh environments, we will be better able to design and reconstruct important wetland systems.


Selected Publications (last 5-years)

Touchette, B.W., J.W.G. Moody, C.M. Byrne, and S.E. Marcus (In Press) Clonal integration in the wetland hydrophyte, Justicia americana: benefits of acropetal water transfer from mother to daughter ramets. Hydrobiologia,

Touchette, B.W., E.C. Adams, and P. Laimbeer (2012) Age-specific responses to salinity in the coastal salt marsh plant black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus Scheele) as determined through polyphasic chlorophyll a fluorescence transients (OJIP). Marine Biology 159: 2137-2147,

Touchette, B.W., E.C. Adams, P. Laimbeer, and G.A. Burn (2012) Ridge crest versus swale: Contrasting plant-water relations and performance indexes in two understory plants within a coastal maritime forest. Journal of Plant Interactions 7: 271-282,

Salpeter, K.E., D.R. Millemann, M.F. Caputo, B.L. White, and B.W. Touchette (2012) Delayed modifications in plant-water relations in the coastal marsh halophyte, Spartina patens following sudden increases in soil salinity. Botanica Marina 55: 307-310

Touchette, B.W., M. Poole, M. D. McCullough, E. C. Adams, and C. E. Niedziela (2011) Vegetative propagation in the emergent macrophyte American water willow (Justicia americana L. Vahl). Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 49: 122-125,

Touchette, B.W., and G.A. Romanello (2010). Growth and water relations in a central North Carolina population of Microstegium vimineum [Trin.] A. Camus. Biological Invasions 12: 893-903,

Touchette, B.W., L.R. Iannacone, G. Turner, and A. Frank (2010). Ecophysiological responses of five emergent-wetland plants to diminished water supply: An experimental microcosm study. Aquatic Ecology 44: 101-112,

Touchette, B.W., G. Smith, K. Rhodes, and M. Poole (2009). Tolerance and avoidance: Two contrasting physiological responses to salt stress in the coastal marsh halophytes Juncus roemerianus and Spartina alterniflora. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 380: 106-112,

Touchette, B.W., K. Rhodes, G. Smith, and M. Poole (2009). Salt-spray induces osmotic adjustment and tissue rigidity in smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora (Loisel.)  Estuaries and Coasts 32: 917-925,

Touchette, B.W., and A. Frank (2009). Xylem potential- and water content-breakpoints in two wetland forbs: Indicators of drought resistance in emergent hydrophytes. Aquatic Biology 6: 67-75,

Touchette, B.W., A. Frank, L.R.  Iannacone, and G. Turner (2008). Drought susceptibility in emergent wetland angiosperms: An evaluation of water deficit growth in five herbaceous perennials. Wetlands Ecology and Management 16: 485-497,

Romanello, G.A., K.L. Chuchra-Zbytniuk, J.L. Vandermer, and B.W. Touchette (2008). Morphological adjustments promote drought avoidance in the wetland plant Acorus americanus. Aquatic Botany 89: 390-396,

Touchette, B.W. (2007). Seagrass-salinity interactions: Physiological mechanisms used by submersed marine angiosperms for life at Sea. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 350: 194-215, 

Touchette, B.W., L.R. Iannacone, G. Turner, and A. Frank (2007). Drought tolerance versus drought avoidance: A comparison of plant-water relations in herbaceous wetland plants subjected to water withdrawal and repletion. Wetlands 27: 656-667,

Burkholder, J.M., D. Tomasko, B.W. Touchette (2007). Seagrasses and eutrophication. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 350: 46-72,

Touchette, B.W., and J.M. Burkholder (2007). Carbon and nitrogen metabolism in the seagrass, Zostera marina L.: Environmental control of enzymes involved in carbon allocation and nitrogen assimilation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 350: 216-233,

Touchette, B.W., and J.M. Burkholder (2007). Effects of temperature and nitrate on phosphomonoesterase activities between carbon source and sink tissues in Zostera marina L. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 342: 313-324,

Touchette, B.W., J.M. Burkholder, E.H. Allen, J.L. Alexander, C.A. Kinder, C. Brownie, J. James, and C.H. Britton (2007). Eutrophication and cyanobacteria blooms in run-of-river impoundments in North Carolina, U.S.A. Lake and Reservoir Management 23: 179-192,

Elon faculty and staff may log in to add more detail to their profile.