The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation recognizes Jacob Barney, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, for studying the impact of invasive plants.
Barney’s research program focuses on the processes and consequences of invasive plant species on natural and managed ecosystems. In relation to global change, for example, Barney studies how invasive plants respond to novel climate scenarios, which may increase the number and distribution of habitats susceptible to invasion.
Barney also focuses on identifying the impacts of invasive plants in a holistic manner to better understand the consequences to biodiversity and ecosystem processes. He wants to reduce the risk of future invasions, and has studied the introducing exotic bioenergy crops.
Barney serves as an associate editor for Invasive Plant Science and Management, on the executive committee of the Northeastern Weed Science Society, and the board of directors for the Weed Science Society of America. He also regularly serves in advisory capacities at the local, state, and national level on bioenergy crops and invasive species.
He recently briefed congressional staff members on ways to increase the use of plants for biofuels without creating environmental problems in the process. While plants used for biofuels are a vital part of a growing need to create more forms of alternative energy, careless planting of them can lead to an unwanted invasion of exotic plants that can push out native species and create ecological havoc.
Barney has published more than 35 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on subjects pertaining to invasive plant ecology, ecological impacts of invasive plants, chemical ecology, risk assessment, and bioenergy.
He received his doctoral degree in invasive plant ecology and his master’s degree in weed science from Cornell University.