Brad Oberle

Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies - Biology - Environmental Studies - Interdisciplinary Programs - Marine Biology - Natural Sciences

Brad Oberle
  • Phone: (941) 487-4390
  • Email:
  • Office Location: HNS E254
  • Mail Location: Heiser E172C

Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis
B.A., Kenyon College

Personal Website

Professor Oberle is broadly interested in the environmental biology of plants and fungi. His research centers on how functional trait variation influences species’ responses to climate change, including their capacity to absorb, store and emit greenhouse gasses. His approach combines lab experiments, field surveys, museum research and statistical models.

In collaboration with diverse students, policy makers and other researchers, he aims to elucidate biological principles that improve natural resource management in the local community and beyond. He enjoys teaching biology by doing science with students and emphasizes accurate analysis, effective communication and appreciation of diversity in nature.

Recent Courses

  • Plants and People
  • Foundations of Biology I
  • Introduction to Botany and Labotatory
  • Evolution
  • Forest Ecology
  • Biology of Urbanization
  • Research Methods in Biology

Selected Publications

  • Oberle, B., K. Ogle, A. E. Zanne, C. W. Woodall. 2018. When a tree falls: Controls on wood decay predict standing dead tree fall and new risks in changing forests. PloS one, 13(5), e0196712.
  • Oberle, B., K. Covey, K. Dunham, E. J. Hernandez, M. F. Walton, D. F. Young, A.E. Zanne. 2018. Dissecting the effects of diameter on wood decay emphasizes the importance of cross-stem conductivity in Fraxinus americana.  Ecosystems 21(1): 85-97 doi 10.1007/s10021-017-0136-x
  • Covey, K.R., Bueno de Mesquita C.P., Oberle, B. , Maynard, D.S., Bettigole, C., Crowther T.W., Duguid, M.C., Steven, B., Zanne, A.E. , Lapin M., Ashton, M.S., Oliver, C.D., Xuhui, L., & Bradford, M.A. 2016. Greenhouse Trace Gases in Deadwood. Biogeochemistry. 130(3): 215-226 doi 10.1007/s10533-016-0253-1
  • Maherali, H., B. Oberle, P.F.  Stevens, W. Cornwell, D.J. McGlinn. 2016.  Mutualism persistence and abandonment during the evolutionary history of the mycorrhizal symbiosis. The American Naturalist  188:5 E000-E000 doi 10.1086/688675
  • Oberle, B., A. M. Milo, J. A. Myers, M. F. Walton, D. F. Young, A.E. Zanne. 2016. Direct estimates of downslope deadwood movement over 30 years in a temperature forest illustrate impacts of treefall on forest ecosystem dynamics. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 46: 351-361 doi: 10.1139/cjfr-2015-0348
  • Oberle, B., K. Ogle, J. C. Penagos, J. Sweeney and A. Zanne. 2016.  A Bayesian model for xylem vessel length accommodates subsampling and reveals skewed distributions in species that dominate more seasonal habitats. Journal of Plant Hydraulics e003 1-17
  • Zanne, A. E., B. Oberle, K. Dunham, A. Milo, M. Evans, D. Young. 2015. A deteriorating state of affairs: How endogenous and exogenous factors determine plant decay rates. Journal of Ecology 103:1421-1431
  • Osazuwa-Peters, O. L., I. Jimenez, B. Oberle, C. A. Chapman, A. E. Zanne. 2015. Selective logging: Do rates of forest turnover in stems, species composition and functional traits decrease with time since disturbance? – A 45-year perspective. Forest Ecology and Management in press.
  • Spasojevic M. J., E. E. Yablon*, B. Oberle, J. A. Myers. 2014. Ontogenetic trait variation influences tree community assembly across environmental gradients. Ecosphere 5:129.
  • Oberle, B., K. Dunham*, A. Milo, M. Evans D. Young and A. Zanne. 2014. Progressive, idiosyncratic changes in wood hardness during decay: implications for dead wood inventory and cycling. Forest Ecology and Management 323 :1-9.
  • Brandt, L., H. He, L. Iverson, F. Thompson, B. Oberle, et al. 2014. Central Hardwoods Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A report from the Central Hardwoods Climate Change Response Framework. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-124. Newtown Square, PSA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 254 p.
  • Oberle, B., J.B. Beck, R.A. Montgomery* and E.E. Esselman. 2012. A morphologically intergrading population facilitates chloroplast introgression from diploid to tetraploid Dodecatheon (Primulaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 168: 91-100.
  • 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.
  • Oberle, B., J.B. Grace and J.M. Chase. 2009. Beneath the veil: plant growth form influences the strength of species richness—productivity relationships in forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography 18: 416-425.
  • Allan, B.F., R.B. Langerhans, W.A. Ryberg, W.J. Landesman, N.W. Griffin, R.S. Katz, B.J. Oberle, M.R. Schutzenhofer, K.N. Smyth, A. de St. Maurice*, L. Clark, K.R. Crooks, D.E. Hernandez, R.G. McLean, R.S. Ostfeld, and J.M. Chase. 2009. Ecological correlates of risk and incidence of West Nile virus in the United States. Oecologia 158: 699-708.