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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.



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!!!


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.

Lab News Archive

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