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Photo of Nicholas BarberNicholas A. Barber

assistant professor

My research explores how environmental and biotic factors influence community assembly, as well as how plant traits affect the outcomes of trophic interactions. I work in restored, managed, and unmanaged ecosystems, and a major goal of my research is to better understand natural and restored habitats so that we can contribute to their conservation and sustainable management.

I also use manipulative field and greenhouse experiments to explore the direct and indirect interactions between plants, plant mutualists, insect herbivores, and predators in evolutionary and ecological contexts.  See my lab website for more details on current research projects.


Representative Publications

DiGiovanni, J. P., W. P. Wysocki, S. V. Burke, M. R. Duvall, and N. A. Barber.  2017.  The role of hemiparasitic plants:  influencing tallgrass prairie quality, diversity and structure.

Pischl, P. H. and N. A. Barber.  2017.  Shifts in plant–mycorrhizal interactions under elevated temperature and drought.  Journal of Plant Ecology.

Minton, M. M.*, N. A. Barber, and L. L. Gordon.  2016.  Effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on herbivory defense in two Solanum species.  Plant Ecology and Evolution 149:157-164.

Boyer, M. D. H., N. L. Soper Gorden, N. A. Barber, and L. S. Adler.  2016.  Floral damage induces resistance to florivory in Impatiens capensis. Arthropod–Plant Interactions 10:121-131.

Barber, N. A., H. P. Jones, M. R. Duvall, W. P. Wysocki*, M. J. Hansen, D. J. Gibson.  2016.  Phylogenetic diversity is maintained despite richness losses in restored tallgrass prairie plant communities.  Journal of Applied Ecology.

Barber N. A.,
N. J. Milano*, E. T. Kiers, N.  Theis, V.  Bartolo*, R. V.  Hazzard, L. S. Adler.  2015.  Root herbivory indirectly affects above- and belowground community members and directly reduces plant performance. Journal of Ecology 103:1509-1518.

Barber, N. A. and R. T. Fahey.  2015.  Consequences of phenology variation and oxidative defenses in Quercus.  Chemoecology. 

Milano, N. J., N. A. Barber, and L. S. Adler.  2015.  Conspecific and heterospecific aboveground herbivory both reduce preference by a belowground herbivore.  Environmental Entomology 44:317-324.

Orrock, J. L., H. P. Dutra, R. J. Marquis, N. A. Barber.  2015.  Disentangling roles of direct and indirect effects of exotic plant species: competition reduces plant abundance and both competition and apparent competition reduce native plant richness.  Ecology 96:1052-1061.

 Theis, N., N. A. Barber, S. J. Gillespie, R. V. Hazzard, and L. S. Adler.  2014.  Attracting mutualists and antagonists: Trait variation in plants explains the distribution of specialist herbivores and pollinators on crops and wild squash. American Journal of Botany 101:1314-1322.

Barber, N. A. and N. L. Soper Gorden.  2014.  How do belowground organisms influence plant-pollinator interactions?  Journal of Plant Ecology 8:1-11.

Barber, N. A., E. T. Kiers, R. V. Hazzard, and L. S. Adler.  2013.  Context-dependency of arbuscular mycorrhial fungi on plant-insect interactions in an agroecosystem.  Frontiers in Plant Science, in press. 

Barber, N. A., N. Theis, E. T. Kiers, R. V. Hazzard, and L. S. Adler.  2013.  Linking agricultural practices, mycorrhizal fungi, and traits mediating plant-insect interactions.  Ecological Applications, in press.

Barber, N. A., L. S. Adler, N. Theis, E. T. Kiers, and R. V. Hazzard.  2012.  Herbivory reduces plant interactions with above- and belowground antagonists and mutualists. Ecology 93:1560-1570.

Barber, N. A. and R. J. Marquis.  2011.  Light environment and the impacts of foliage quality on herbivorous insect attack and bird predation. Oecologia 166:401-409.

Barber, N. A. and R. J. Marquis.  2011.  Leaf quality, predators, and stochastic processes in the assembly of a diverse herbivore community. Ecology 92:699-708.

Barber, N. A., L. S. Adler, and H. Bernardo.  2011.  Effects of above- and belowground herbivory on growth, pollination, and reproduction in cucumber. Oecologia 165:377-386.

Mooney, K. A., D. S. Gruner, N. A. Barber, S. A. Van Bael, S. M. Philpott, and R. Greenberg.  2010.  Interactions among predators and the cascading effects of vertebrate insectivores on arthropod communities and plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 107:7335-7340.

Barber, N. A., R. J. Marquis, and W. P. Tori.  2008.  Invasive prey impacts the abundance and distribution of native predators. Ecology 89:2678-2683.

Van Bael, S. A., S. M. Philpott, R. Greenberg, P. Bichier, N. A. Barber, K. A. Mooney, and D. S. Gruner.  2008.  Birds as predators in tropical agroforestry systems. Ecology 89:928-934.


Research Lab Website

Curriculm Vitae


Ph.D., 2009, University of Missouri-St. Louis

B.S., 2003, St. Louis University

Fields of Interest

Plant-herbivore interactions, community ecology.


Nicholas A. Barber
Office: MO 449 (815) 753-4215
Lab:  MO 317
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115