Assistant Curator, Botany
Co-chair of Collections
Mason Heberling is the assistant curator in the Section of Botany and co-chair
of collections at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Heberling received his
Ph.D. from Syracuse University in Biology in 2015, and a B.S. from Penn State
in Biology (Ecology) in 2010. He conducted postdoctoral research through the
University of Tennessee Knoxville in the Department of Ecology and
Evolutionary Biology and in the Section of Botany at Carnegie Museum of
Heberling is a plant ecologist and botanist whose research explores plant
functional strategies in deciduous forest understories, especially in the context
of environmental change. Much of his current research focuses on the ecology
and evolution of non-native, invasive plants in the eastern United States, the
ecophysiological strategies of the herbaceous layer in deciduous forests, and
the impacts of climate change on the timing of leafing out and flowering in
temperate deciduous forests.
Heberling is particularly interested in innovative uses for natural history
collections and rethinking how we collect. He has strong and diverse interests
in the longstanding and emerging roles of herbaria in the Anthropocene. He is
part of a long-term collaborative project in the Section of Botany to revisit sites
throughout Western Pennsylvania that were historically visited by previous
museum curators and botanists to study changes in our local flora and species’
responses to climate change.
- Has your Charlie Brown tree lost its needles yet? Not all needled-leaved trees are evergreen! Yes, there are deciduous species in the …
- So long, leaves. Autumn has fallen. This specimen of red maple (Acer rubrum) was collected on November 13, 1915 by Otto Jennings …
- Chestnuts (used to be) on Chestnut Ridge And across the entire state of Pennsylvania. American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was once a very …
- In the northeastern United States, we often think of spring as a time for wildflowers. But the fall is, too. It …
- Christmas in July…”Santa Claus” floating in the air. (Or I guess, technically Boxing Day in July, if that’s a thing.) Make a …
- Collected on this Day in 1942 It can’t be snow, right? It’s summer! Maybe that is cotton falling from the sky? Well, …
Reeb, R.A., Acevedo, I., Heberling, J.M., Isaac, B.L. & Kuebbing, S. (2020) Nonnative old-field species inhabit early-season phenological niches and exhibit unique sensitivity to climate. Ecosphere, in press.
Pearson, K.D., Nelson, G., Aronson, M., Bonnet, P., Brenskelle, L., Davis, C.C.,
Denny, E.G., Ellwood, E.R., Goëau, H., Heberling, J.M., Joly, A., Lorieul,
T., Mazer, S.J., Meineke, E.K., Stucky, B., Sweeney, P., White, A. & Soltis,
P.S. (2020) Machine learning using digital herbarium specimens to
accelerate phenological research. BioScience, in press.
Shouman, S., Mason, N.W.H., Heberling, J.M, Kichey, T., Closset-Kopp, D.,
Kobeissi, A. & Decocq, G. (2020) Leaf functional traits at home and abroad:
A community perspective of sycamore maple invasion. Forest Ecology &
Hedrick, B.P., Heberling, J. M., Meineke, E.K., Turner, K.G., Grassa, C.J., Park, D.S., Kennedy, J., Clarke, J.A., Cook, J.A., Blackburn, D.C., Edwards, S.V., Davis,
C.C. (2020). Digitization and the future of natural history collections. BioScience
Kattge, J., Bönisch, G., Díaz, S., Lavorel, S., Prentice, I.C., Leadley, P., Tautenhahn, S., Werner, G., …[data paper with 715 additional co-authors including Heberling, J.M.]… and Wirth, C. (2020). TRY plant trait database – enhanced coverage and open access. Global Change Biology 26:119-188.
Heberling, J.M., Prather L.A. & Tonsor, S.J. (2019). The changing uses of herbarium data in an era of global change: An overview using automated content analysis. BioScience 69:812-822. [online – free access link]
Heberling, J.M., McDonough MacKenzie, C., Fridley, J.D., Kalisz, S. & Primack, R.B. (2019) Phenological mismatch with trees reduces wildflower carbon budgets. Ecology Letters22: 616-623. doi: 10.111/ele.13224
Heberling, J.M. & Burke, D.J. (2019) Utilizing herbarium specimen roots to quantify historical mycorrhizal communities. Applications in Plant Sciences, 7(4): e2213. Special issue: Methods in Belowground Botany [online – open access]
Heberling, J.M., Cassidy, S.T., Fridley, J.D. & Kalisz, S. (2019) Carbon gain phenologies of spring-flowering perennials in a deciduous forest indicate a novel niche for a widespread invader. New Phytologist 221: 778-788.
Heberling, J.M. & Isaac, B.L. (2018) iNaturalist as a tool to expand the research value of museum specimens. Applications in Plant Sciences 6(11): e1193. [online – open access].
Heberling, J.M. & Mason, N.W.H. (2018) Are endemics functionally distinct?: Leaf traits of native and invasive woody species in a New Zealand forest. PLOS ONE 13(5): e0196746 [online – open access]
Shouman, S., Mason, N.W.H., Kichey, T., Heberling, J.M, Closset-Kopp, D. & Decocq, G. (2017) Functional shift of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) towards greater plasticity and shade tolerance in its invasive range. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution, & Systematics, 29: 30-40. [online]
Heberling, J.M. & Isaac, B.L. (2017) Herbarium specimens as exaptations: new uses for old collections. American Journal of Botany 104(7): 963-965. [online – open access] [Appendix S1 – Unanticipated uses of herbarium specimens with bibliography]
Wavrek, M., Heberling, J.M., Fei, S. & Kalisz, S. (2017) Herbaceous invaders in temperate forests: a systematic review of their ecology and proposed mechanisms of invasion. Biological Invasions, 19(11): 3079-3097 [online – open access]
Heberling, J.M., Brouwer, N.L. & Kalisz, S. (2017) Effects of deer on the photosynthetic performance of invasive and native forest herbs. AoB PLANTS 9(2): plx011. [online – open access]
Heberling, J.M., Jo, I., Kozhevnikov, A., Lee, H., & Fridley, J.D. (2017) Biotic interchange in the Anthropocene: strong asymmetry in East Asian and Eastern North American plant invasions. Global Ecology and Biogeography 26: 447-458. [online]
Heberling, J.M. & Fridley, J.D. (2016) Invaders do not require high resource levels to maintain physiological advantages in a temperate deciduous forest. Ecology 97: 874-884. [online]
Heberling, J.M., Kichey, T., Decocq, G. & Fridley, J.D. (2016) Plant functional shifts in the invaded range: a test with reciprocal forest invaders of Europe and North America. Functional Ecology 30: 875-884. [online] [lay summary]
Heberling, J.M. & Fridley, J.D. (2013) Resource-use strategies of native and invasive plants in Eastern North American forests. New Phytologist 200: 523-533. [online]
Heberling, J.M. & Fridley, J.D. (2012) Biogeographic constraints on the worldwide leaf economics spectrum. Global Ecology and Biogeography 21: 1137-1146. [online]
Siefert, A., Ravenscroft, C., Althoff, D., Alvarez-Yapiz, J., Carter, E., Glennon, K., Heberling, J.M., Jo, I., Pontes, A., Sauer, A., Willis, A. & Fridley, J.D. (2012) Scale dependence of vegetation-environment relationships: a meta-analysis of multivariate data. Journal of Vegetation Science 23: 942-951. [online]
Russo, L., Stehouwer, R., Heberling, J.M. & Shea, K. (2011) The composite insect trap: an innovative combination trap for biologically diverse sampling. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21079. [online – open access]
Zhang R., Heberling, J.M., Haner, E. & Shea, K. (2011) Tolerance of two invasive thistles to repeated disturbance. Ecological Research 26: 575-581. [online]