Brian Barber

Bryan-with-Tiger-Whiptail.jpgDr. Brian Barber grew up in Kansas City Kansas.  Despite living in a large metropolitan area his home was situated next to a small urban stream and forest.  There he spent much of his childhood catching snakes and lizards.  He fondly remembers being bitten on the hand by the first snake he encountered.  This incident led him to his local library where he devoured every book he could find about reptiles.  His biological world expanded after he purchased a Peterson Field Guide for Birds with money earned mowing lawns.  After that he rarely left home without a pair of binoculars and his bird guide. 

His interests in nature’s diversity led him to study biology at the University of Kansas.  While at Kansas he was fortunate to join two scientific expeditions to Guyana.  After graduating from Kansas he went on to obtain his doctorate from the University of Minnesota.  He has completed post-doctoral research at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and Brigham Young University.  Most recently he coordinated outreach activities with the Ogden Migratory Bird Program at Weber State University in Utah.

Brian is a broadly trained evolutionary biologist.  He studies a diverse group of species including birds, butterflies, bats, deep-sea anemones, fishes, crabs and mammals.  His research uses DNA to determine the relationships of these animals.  In turn these relationships are used to ask questions on how historical events such as past climate changes have shaped current diversity.  Brian joined the Biodiversity Institute in August of 2013.  Here he will be primarily responsible for merging the research done at the BI with our educational programs and initiatives. 

His hobbies include making traditional archery bows, fly-fishing, mountain biking and attempting to play classical guitar pieces.



Ecological & Natural History

Cavitt, J. and B. R. Barber. 2013 Diet analysis and population changes of birds due to water level changes at Willard Spur, Great Salt Lake, Utah.  Department of Wildlife Resources Report.

Robbins, M. B. Á. S. Nyári, M. Pape, B. W. Benz, and B. R. Barber (2010) River-based surveys for assessing riparian bird populations: Cerulean Warbler as a test case. Southeastern Naturalist 9:95-104

Braun, M. J., M. B. Robbins, C. M. Milensky, B. J. O’Shea, B. R. Barber, W. Hinds, and W.S. Prince (2003) New birds for Guyana from Mts. Roraima and Ayanganna.  Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 123:24-32

Barber, B. R. and M. B. Robbins (2003) The nest and eggs of the tepui antpitta, Myrmothera simplex. Wilson Bulletin 114:287-288

Robbins, M. B., B. R. Barber, and B. W. Benz (2001) Breeding birds of northeastern Missouri. Bluebird 68:7-21

Robbins, M. B., B. R. Barber, and E. A.Young (2000) Major bird mortality at a Topeka television tower.  Kansas Ornithological Society 51:29-30

Fautin, D. G. and B. R. Barber (1999) Maractis rimicarivora, A new genus and species of sea anemone (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Actinaria: Actinostolidae) from an Atlantic hydrothermal vent.  Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 112(3):624-631

Robbins, M. B., B. R. Barber, and K. Zyskowski (1998) Census of cerulean warblers along the upper Current River, with comments on the status of other riparian species. Bluebird 65:10-16


Barber, B. R., J. Xu, M. Pérez-Losada, C. G. Jara, and K. A. Crandall.  Conflicting evolutionary patterns due to mitochondrial introgression and multilocus phylogeography of the Patagonian freshwater crab Aegla neuquensis.  PLoS ONE 7(6): e37105. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037105

Barber, B. R. and G. Jensen (2011) Climate change during the Quaternary was not an engine of diversification in New World bats (Chiroptera).  J. Mammalian Evolution 19:129-133

Barber, B. R., P. J. Unmack, M. Pérez-Losada, J. B. Johnson and K. A. Crandall (2011) Different processes lead to similar patterns: a test of codivergence and the role of sea-level and climate changes in shaping a southern temperate species assemblage.  BMC Evolutionary Biology 11:343

Barber, B. R. and J. Klicka (2010) Two pulses of diversification across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in a montane Mexican bird fauna. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 277:2675-2681

Barber, B. R. and N. H. Rice (2007) Systematics and evolution in the Tityrinae (Passeriformes: Tyrannoidea). Auk 124:1317-1329

Martinez-Gomez, J. E., B. R. Barber, and A. T. Peterson (2005) Phylogenetic position and generic placement of the socorro wren, “Thryomanes” (= Troglodytes) sissonii.  Auk 122:50-56

Barber, B. R., J.E. Martinez-Gomez and A.T. Peterson (2004) Systematic position of the socorro mockingbird (Mimodes graysoni).  Journal of Avian Biology 35(3):195-198

Zink, R. M., J. Klicka, and B. R. Barber (2004) Tempo of avian evolution in the Pleistocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London B 359:215-220

Barber, B. R., P. B. Berendzen, and A. DeWitt. Simultaneous diversification in highland fishes of eastern North America: a test using Approximate Bayesian Computation. In progress

Barber, B. R. A shared evolutionary history in codistributed butterfly taxa with different natural histories.  In progress

Barber, B. R. Phylogeography of the montane bird Myadestes occidentalisIn progress