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Jesse Barber

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, Rm 114
Office Number: 208-426-3202
Lab Website:


  • 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. 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 our research. 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.

diagram of bird eyesight
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.
♦ Movie of a red bat back-flipping to catch a tethered moth: Red_Bat
♦ Movie of a Saw-whet owl hunting mice: Saw-whet_Owl


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.

Barber JR, Leavell 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.

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.

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

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.  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.