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 biotic factors influence community assembly and affect the outcomes of trophic interactions. 

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 habitats.



August 2021, a busy summer:

  • Earlier this summer Nick & Camille traveled to Illinois to set up our new CAPER (Community Assembly in Prairie Ecosystem Restoration) experiment with our NIU collaborators. See pictures of the set-up and experiment here.

  • We collected 437 soil samples in one day from the Morton Arboretum's Ware Field Prairie experiment for the PRISM project. See the pictures.

  • Sam successfully completed her US Fish & Wildlife Directorate Fellows Program fellowship studying a rare California butterfly.

  • Maricela successfully completed her NOAA fellowship compiling data on killer whales from the Pacific Northwest.

  • Fernanda got an internship with a local biotech company.

  • Azeem's manuscript was accepted and published at Environmental Entomology!

  • Welcome to Mareike, a biology major and new student in the lab.

  • We also managed to find a day for several of us to meet for an enjoyable hike through Los Peñasquitos Canyon and welcome Mareike in-person!

May 2021:

  • Some great news from our lab as a very long schoolyear comes to an end:

  • Fernanda was accepted to SDSU's Biological & Medical Informatics MS program!

  • Sam has an internship with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service this summer!

  • Maricela has an internship with the National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration!

  • Camille was awarded a University Graduate Fellowship!

  • Look at these pretty pictures we published in the ESA Bulletin.

April 2021:

  • The semester has kept everyone busy, but thankfully we've all been healthy.

  • Sam, Maricela, and Fernanda presented posters at SDSU's Student Research Symposium. The next day, Sam and Maricela presented their poster at the Midwest Ecology & Evolution Conference. Everyone did a really impressive job, and the posters look great hanging in the lab now!

  • Check out this exciting paper in PNAS from our Nachusa crew, led by Dr. Pete Guiden. We show that management activities in restored prairies have stronger effects on animal diversity than plant-mediated effects.

  • Lab alumnus Azeem Rahman recently accepted a job with the USDA-NRCS -- congratulations, Azeem!

January 2021:

  • Happy New Year - we're fortunate and thankful that everyone in the lab has stayed healthy and well, and we're looking forward to another virtual semester.

  • Take a look at a recent paper from Ryan Blackburn's NIU MS work that was recently published, examining how inexpensive drone imagery can predict prairie characteristics.

Lab News Archive