Pedro Barbosa, ESA Fellow (1997)

Dr. Pedro Barbosa, an emeritus professor at University of Maryland (UMD), was elected as Fellow in 1997. He is best known for his work on plant-insect interactions with a focus on tri-trophic level interactions and is regarded as an expert in conservation biological control.

Barbosa was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico and raised in Spanish Harlem, in New York City. He received his B.S. in biology from the City College of New York in 1966 and continued his education in the Department of Entomology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass) where he received his M.S. (1969) and Ph.D. (1971) degrees. He immediately took a position as assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and Economic Zoology at Rutgers University. Later he held positions as an assistant (1973­­–1978) and associate professor (1978–1979) in the Department of Entomology at UMass, and as an associate professor (1979–1982) in the Department of Entomology at UMD where he currently holds a position as an emeritus professor. He was also a visiting professor at Zhejiang Agricultural University (1984–1987) and professor ad honorium at the University of Puerto Rico (1984).          

Barbosa's research interests are in theoretical and applied ecology of plant-insect interactions with an emphasis on tri-trophic interactions. In his recent work, he has explored factors that explain species abundance and parasitoid-host interactions in caterpillars that occur on black willow and box elder. He is especially interested in the impact of parasitism and predation vs. plant defenses and host quality on herbivore abundance. He is researching how insects use visual, chemical, and physical cues to affect the behavioral ecology of natural enemy-prey interactions. Another research area in his lab is the use of genetic markers to measure genetic divergence within and among macrolepidoptera of riparian forests.

His research has greatly contributed to understanding how plants affect natural enemies, how this in turn affects target herbivores, and how these complex exchanges could be incorporated into IPM strategies. He has authored or coauthored numerous refereed publications, and written or edited 13 books and 20 book chapters.

Barbosa has served as a President of the Eastern Branch of the ESA (1987) and as the president of the Association for Puerto Ricans in Science and Engineering (1987–1989). He was a Ford Foundation Fellow (1984) and holds a Distinguished Research Faculty Fellowship (awarded in 1991). He has twice been awarded a Bussart Memorial Award for Excellence in Research (1986 and 1987), a Science Award from the Institute of Puerto Rico of New York (1989), and he received a Ciba-Geigy Recognition Award from the ESA Eastern Branch (1993). He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1991 and an Honorary Member of the ESA in 2006.

Dr. Barbosa’s hobbies include playing racquetball, as well as carving wax sculptures and then casting them in bronze. In addition, he collects masks from all over the world.

(updated September, 2011)