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Jesse Barber, Ph.D.

Jesse Barber in natural scenery

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Year arrived at BSU:   2011
Mailing Address:
Department of Biology
Boise State University
Boise, ID 83725-1515
Office Location: Science Building, Rm 217B
Office Number: 208-426-3202


  • B.S., University of Wyoming, 1998
  • M.S., University of Wyoming, 2002
  • Ph.D., Wake Forest University, 2007
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Colorado State University and the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service, 2007-2010


  • BIOL 192 General Biology II (Zoology Section)
  • BIOL 497/597 Sensory Ecology
  • BIOL 422 Conservation Biology
  • BIOL 597 Bioacoustics


We address behavioral, evolutionary and conservation-related questions by employing bioacoustic and videographic techniques to quantify how animals process sensory input and act on the resulting information. Understanding how anthropogenic changes to the sensory environment alter animal behavior also drives our research. We combine field observations and controlled experimental design with an emphasis on natural history. Our research group is focused on problems, not taxa, and we currently study bats, insects, owls, rodents and songbirds.


Senzaki M, Barber JR, Phillips JN, Carter NH, Cooper CB, Ditmer MA, Fristrup KM, McClure, CJW, Mennitt DJ, Tyrrell LP, Vukomanovic J, Wilson AA, Francis CD (2020). Sensory pollutants alter bird phenology and fitness across a continent. Nature, 587:605-609.

Levenhagen MJ, Miller ZD, Petrelli AR, Ferguson LA, Shr Y, Gomes DGE, Taff BD, White C, Fristrup KM, Monz C, McClure CJW, Newman P, Francis CD, Barber JR (2020). Ecosystem services enhanced through soundscape management link people and wildlife. People and Nature.

Dominoni DM, Halfwerk W, Baird E, Buxton RT, Fernàndez-Juricic E, Fristrup KM, McKenna MF, Mennitt Perkin EK, DJ, Seymoure BM, Stoner DC, Tennessen JB, Toth CA, Tyrrell LP, Wilson A, Francis CD, Carter NH, Barber JR (2020). Why conservation biology can benefit from sensory ecology. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 16:1-10.

Cinto Mejia E, McClure CJW, Barber JR (2019) Large‐scale manipulation of the acoustic environment can alter the abundance of breeding birds: Evidence from a phantom natural gas field. Journal of Applied Ecology. 56(8):2091-2101.

Leavell BCRubin JJ, McClure CJW, Miner KA, Branham MA, Barber JR (2018) Fireflies thwart bat attack with multisensory warnings. Science Advances 4:8, eaat6601

Rubin JJ, Hamilton CA, McClure CJW, Chadwell BA, Kawahara AY, Barber JR (2018) The evolution of anti-bat sensory illusions in moths. Science Advances 4:7, eaar7428

Mason TJ, McClure CJW, Barber JR (2016) Anthropogenic noise impairs owl hunting behavior. Biological Conservation 199:29-32.

Barber JRLeavell BC, Keener AL, Breinholt JW, Chadwell BA, McClure CJW, Hill GM, Kawahara AY (2015) Moth tails divert bat attack: evolution of acoustic deflection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(9):2812-2816.

Ware HE, McClure CJW, Carlisle J, Barber JR (2015) A phantom road experiment reveals traffic noise is an invisible source of habitat degradation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(39):12105-12109.

Kawahara* AY, Barber* JR (2015) Tempo and mode of anti-bat ultrasound production and sonar jamming in the diverse hawkmoth radiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(20): 6407-6412. *Authors contributed equally

McClure CJW, Ware HE, Carlisle J, Kaltenecker G, Barber JR (2013) An experimental investigation into the effects of traffic noise on distributions of birds: Avoiding the phantom road. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 80: 20132290.

Barber JR*, Kawahara AY* (2013) Hawkmoths produce anti-bat ultrasound. Biology Letters 9: 20130161. *Authors contributed equally

Francis CD*Barber JR* (2013) A framework for understanding noise impacts on wildlife: an urgent conservation priority. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. doi:10.1890/120183 *Authors contributed equally

Barber JR, Burdett CL, Reed SE, Warner KA, Formichella C, Crooks KR, Theobald DM, Fristrup KM (2011) Anthropogenic noise exposure in protected natural areas: estimating the scale of ecological consequences. Landscape Ecology. 26:1281-1295.

Barber JR, Crooks K, Fristrup K (2010) The costs of chronic noise exposure for terrestrial organisms. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 25(3):180-189.

Corcoran AJ, Barber JR, Conner WE (2009) Tiger moth jams bat sonar. Science. 325:325-327.

Barber JR, Conner WE (2007) Acoustic mimicry in a predator-prey interaction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104(22): 9331-9334.


Undergraduate and graduate students interested in working in the lab should contact me by email and describe your background, interests and why you would be a good fit for our work.  I advise students in the Biology and Raptor Biology M.S. program and the Ph.D. program in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior.