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Jesse Barber

Assistant 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,  Room 114
Office Number:   208-426-3202
Fax Number:   208-426-1040

E-Mail Address:


  • 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
  • ZOOL 301 Functional and Comparative Anatomy


We address behavioral, evolutionary and conservation-related questions. We employ 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 the research in the Sensory Ecology Lab. Our approach combines field research and controlled experimental design with an emphasis on natural history. We are focused on problems, not taxa, and currently study bats, insects, owls, rodents and songbirds.

The Sensory Ecology Lab is equipped with high-speed and high-definition cameras, ultrasonic and sonic recording units, and outstanding indoor and outdoor animal imaging facilities.  Our behavioral work is funded by NSF and NPS.


1) A red bat back-flipping to catch a tethered moth: Red_Bat

2) Saw-whet owl hunting mice: Saw-whet_Owl

An example of how prey localization accuracy is quantified during experiments with saw-whet owls (Aegolius acadius) hunting mice and an example of how a red bat’s (Lasiurus borealis) flight pattern is analyzed as it avoids a noxious, sound-producing tiger moth.


  • C.L. Brown, A.R. Hardy, J.R. Barber, K.M. Fristrup, K.R. Crooks and L.M.Angeloni (2012) The effect of human activities and their associated noise on ungulate behavior. PLoS One. 7(7): e40505, 1-9.
  • J.R. Barber, C.L. Burdett, S.E. Reed, K.A. Warner, C. Formichella, K.R. Crooks, D.M. Theobald and K.M. Fristrup. (2011) Anthropogenic noise exposure in protected natural areas: estimating the scale of ecological consequences. Landscape Ecology 26:1281-1295. For supporting animations see link.
  • A.J. Corcoran, J.R. Barber, N.I. Hristov and W.E. Conner (2011). How do tiger moths jam bat sonar? Journal of Experimental Biology214:2416-2425.
  • J.R. Barber, K. Crooks and K. Fristrup (2010). The costs of chronic noise exposure for terrestrial organisms. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25(3):180-189.
  • A.J. Corcoran*, W.E. Conner* and J.R. Barber* (2010). Anti-bat tiger moth sounds: Form and function. Current Zoology 56(3):358-369. * authors contributed equally
  • J.R. Barber, B. Chadwell, N. Garrett*, B. Schmidt-French and W.E. Conner (2009). Naïve bats discriminate arctiid moth warning sounds but generalize their aposematic meaning. Journal of Experimental Biology. 212:2141-2148. *undergraduate author.  For supporting animations see link.
  • A..J. Corcoran, J.R. Barber and W.E. Conner (2009). Tiger moth jams bat sonar. Science 325:325-327. For supporting movies see link.
  • W.E. Conner, N.I. Hristov and J.R. Barber (2008). Sound strategies: Acoustic aposematism, startle and sonar jamming. In: Tiger Moths and Wooly Bears: Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Arctiidae. Edited by W.E. Conner. Oxford University Press.
  • J.R. Barber and W.E. Conner (2007). Acoustic mimicry in a predator-prey interaction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104(22): 9331-9334. For supporting movies see link.
  • J.R. Barber and W.E. Conner (2006). Tiger moth responses to a simulated bat attack: Timing and duty cycle. Journal of Experimental Biology 209:2637-2650.
  • J.R. Barber, K.A. Razak and Z.M. Fuzessery (2003). Can two streams of auditory information be processed simultaneously? Evidence from the gleaning bat Antrozous pallidus. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 189:843-855.


  • J.R. Barber, K.M. Fristrup, C.L. Brown, A.R. Hardy, L.M. Angeloni, and K.R. Crooks (2010). Conserving the wild life therein: Protecting park fauna from anthropogenic noise. Park Science. Winter 2009-10. Vol. 26(3), 11 pages. Link.
  • J.R. Barber, F. Turina, and K.M. Fristrup (2010). Science Note: Tolerating noise and the ecological costs of “habituation”. Park Science. Winter 2009-10. Vol. 26(3), 3 pages. Link.
  • J.R. Barber, and K.M. Fristrup (2010). Science Note: Relating wildlife behavioral responses to noise to ecological consequences. Park Science. Winter 2009-10. Vol. 26(3), 2 pages. Link.
  • J.R. Barber. (2004) Amazing Diversity: Different strokes for different moths? BATS magazine of Bat Conservation International. Summer pp. 12-13. Link.


Dr. Chris McClure.  Chris graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005 with a BS in Environmental Economics.  His PhD from Auburn University is titled, Assessing key methods to study and predict habitats used by birds.  Click here to check out Dr. McClure’s website.


Jessie Bunkley. Jessie graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  She has experience working with shorebirds, passerines, small mammals, desert reptiles, and bats! 

Tate Mason.  Tate Mason earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from Western Washington University.  Interested in ecology, he soon found himself working with birds and has not looked back.  From Hawaii to Wyoming, Peru to Alaska, he has been involved with a myriad of conservation related projects.  Click here to learn more about Tate’s research.

Heidi Ware.  Heidi graduated from Boise State in 2011.  She is an accomplished and dedicated birder, having spent the last 4 fall migration seasons working (and living!) at Lucky Peak Bird Observatory.


Brian Leavell.  Brian comes to the Sensory Ecology Lab by way of a background in music and audio engineering. While notes and waveforms get him excited, he is looking forward to pairing his love of sound with his fascination of the natural world.

Amanda Acree.  Amanda is a pre-vet student interested in animal care and husbandry.

Adam Keener. Adam is interested in the bat-moth evolutionary arms race, noise pollution, and novel aposematisms. In his free time he enjoys reading popular science books and following politics a little too closely.


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.  Graduate student applicants should attach a curriculum vita that includes GPA and GRE scores.  I advise students in both the Biology M.S. program and the Raptor Biology M.S. program.  Do not apply directly to these programs until we have corresponded.