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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.



September 2022:

  • A new schoolyear and exciting time for the lab!

  • Welcome to Liz Becker, starting in the Joint Doctoral Program in Ecology. Liz has extensive experience in conservation and restoration work, and she is interested in how restoration can support ecosystem services in mixed agricultural-natural landscapes.

  • Check out some of our new papers studying grazing impacts on threatened beetles in Germany, herbicide effects in honeysuckle-invaded woodlands, and some big collaborative papers we were excited to contribute to. 

  • And congrats to Camille and Maricela, who presented their research at ESA in Montreal. We had a great time meeting other ecologists and being able to connect with friends face-to-face.

  • Finally, check out this amazing paper in Science, led by Amy Zanne, to which we contributed data. It was great to be part of a truly global project.

June 2022:

  • A busy few weeks for the lab. In May, Nick led a group of SDSU SACNAS students on a NSF-funded trip to Illinois to meet students at NIU and Northwestern. We visited Nachusa Grasslands, the CAPER experiment, and NU's downtown medical campus. Read about it here and see pictures here.

  • Kendall led a successful soil sampling visit to Faville Prairie in southern Wisconsin and prepared samples at Wes Swingley's lab at NIU to look at soil microbial communities. Pictures here!

  • Camille and Mareike joined Nick in Illinois for a soil-sampling marathon on the hottest days of year. Camille worked with Meghan Midgley and her amazing team of interns to process almost 200 samples.

  • Travis and Sam held down the fort in California while the rest of us were on the road. They've been cultivating lots of prairie plants, collecting exudates, and processing some stinky pitfall trap samples.

May 2022:

  • Congratulations to Sam P. and Maricela on their graduation! Maricela was also honored as SDSU's Outstanding Biology Undergraduate!

  • Welcome to Dr. Kendall Beals, who starts a postdoctoral scholar position in the lab to study prairie soil microbiomes in collaboration with Dr. Paul Zedler at the UW-Madison.

  • Camille passed her qualifying exams this spring – way to go, Camille!

  • We have a busy field season ahead of us as we travel to Wisconsin and Illinois for soil sampling, and keep growing plants to collect root exudates in the lab.

Lab News Archive

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