Brad Oberle

Associate Curator

Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Population Biology, Washington University in Saint Louis


Forest ecology, carbon cycling, conservation biology


Eastern North American Forests, Mangroves, Primula Sect. Dodecatheon (Primulaceae), Tillandsia (Bromeliaceae)

Research locations

Thain Family Forest, NYC Region, Florida, Australia


My research supports diverse, resilient communities through deeper understanding of the complex relationship between life and climate. As an Associate Curator at the New York Botanical Garden, I focus on plants and microbes, which interact to drive the global carbon cycle in habitats transformed by people. To identify where, when and why ecosystems face tipping points and species face extinction, I draw techniques from ecology, evolution and statistics. Then, to translate novel science into effective action, I partner with community groups, natural resource managers and policy makers. Together, we advance innovative, practical solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises.


My current research addresses global change impacts on urban forests, optimizing carbon sequestration from small scale afforestation projects, mangrove restoration and conservation biology in Bromeliaceae.

Selected Publications

Oberle B., Bressan, S. J., J. M. McWilliams, E. M. Diaz-Almeyda. 2023. Urban food forestry transforms soil function to rapidly and uniformly sequester carbon. Urban Ecosystems

Oberle, B. and E. Fairchild. 2023. On the benefits of clarifying the meaning of “plant gender”. 2023 American Journal of Botany e16196

Oberle, B., Breithaupt, J., McTigue, A. M., Stryker, R., Cladas, M., Raulerson, G., & Young, D. F. 2022. Restoration objectives create surface carbon cycle trade‐offs in coastal habitats. Restoration Ecology, 30(4), e13563.

Jabaily, R. S., E. Fetterly, M. S. Heschel, B. Sidoti, B. Oberle & E. Bodine. 2021. Defining iteroparity with comparative morphometric data (Bromeliaceae). International Journal of Plant Sciences.

Lustenhouwer, N., D. S. Maynard, M. A. Bradford, D. L. Lidner, B. Oberle, A. E. Zanne, T. W. Crowther. 2020. A trait-based understanding of wood decomposition by fungi. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(21), 11551-11558.

Oberle, B., M. R. Lee, J. A. Myers, O. L. Osazuwa‐Peters, M. J. Spasojevic, M. L. Walton, M. L., D. F. Young & A. E. Zanne 2019. Accurate forest projections require long‐term wood decay experiments because plant trait effects change through time. Global Change Biology 26(2): 864-875

Oberle, B. and B.A. Schaal. 2011. Historical responses to climate change highlight contemporary threats to diversity in Dodecatheon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108: 5655-5660.