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Community ecology & restoration lab

Nick barber, san diego state university

About us

Welcome to the research lab of Nick Barber, Associate Professor of Biology at San Diego State University.  We study how environmental and anthropogenic factors influence community assembly, trophic interactions, and ecosystem functioning. 

We work in restored, managed, and unmanaged ecosystems, and a major goal of our research is to generate basic ecological knowledge while contributing to the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. Most of our work focuses on plants, insects, and soil microorganisms.

Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive lab environment in which people at all career stages are welcomed and feel free to learn and contribute to science regardless of their background or identity.


March 2024:

  • We are sad that Kendall's time in our lab came to an end, but excited to see her start her new position with Working Lands Conservation in Utah.

  • Lydia, Alec, Sam, Travis, and Connor all presented posters at the SDSU Student Symposium. And Connor, Travis, and Sam received an Undergraduate Research Excellence Award for their study of seed emergence in bridal broom, an exotic shrub here in southern California. Congratulations!

  • Nick participated in and presented at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's "Sustainable Future" colloquium in San Francisco.

  • Camille is running a series of workshops on Mindfulnes for Women in STEM with funding she received from SDSU.

  • Shout-out to former lab member Dr. Sheryl Hosler, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation!


December 2023:

  • Some new papers from the lab out this fall in Ecology and in FEMS Microbiology Ecology. See the publications page for links!

  • Nick gave a webinar for FEMS Microbiology Ecology. You can watch it here.

September 2023:

  • Welcome to Alec who joined the lab this fall.

  • Liz is up at UC Davis for the year in Jen Funk's lab.

  • Kendall represented the lab at the ESA meeting in Portland this summer where she presented her prairie soil research.

June 2023:

  • Lab members are up to lots of exciting things this summer.

  • First, welcome to Lydia, who will be a REU student in the lab this summer, and Connor, who is working with our US Navy collaborators on invasive species control. Both Lydia and Connor are SDSU Biology majors.

  • Liz is off in Illinois, Travis is in Massachusetts, Sam is in Maryland, and Mareike is in Germany. The rest of us are hanging around to enjoy the San Diego summer.

  • Finally, great news from lab alumna Sam Padilla, who has accepted a job with the US Fish & Wildlife Service here in San Diego County! Way to go, Sam!

April 2023:

  • A busy winter and spring in the lab, including a new papers out on prairie soil bacterial communities.

  • Mareike and Sam both presented posters at SDSU's S3 student research symposium - great job!

  • And more exciting news all around:

    • Liz was awarded a summer graduate fellowship at Nachusa Grasslands!

    • Sam was awarded a REU in Maryland!

    • Travis was awarded a REU at Plum Island, Massachusetts!

    • Marieke will be visiting an equestrian facility in Germany for a potential internship!

    • And Maricela was awarded a GRFP and will be starting her MS at Colorado State University!!!

Lab News Archive

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