Current Lab Members

Principle Investigator

Paul Barber
Paul H. Barber

Professor Paul H. Barber is an evolutionary and conservation geneticist. His  Ph.D. research at UC Berkeley focused on the dispersal of frogs among the  sky islands of the desert southwest, but turned his attentions to marine ecosystems of the Coral Triangle as an NSF postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. He moved to UCLA in 2008 from Boston University. Honors include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, UCLA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, and the Life Science Award for Excellence in Educational Innovation.

Contact Information                Curriculum Vitae

 Current Members

Aji Anggoro

Aji Anggoro  is interested in the  interplay between ecological and evolutionary processes that shape species and genetic diversity in coral reef ecosystem, particularly in Coral Triangle. He is interested in using this information to advance marine sustainability in the Coral Triangle. He received B.S in Fisheries and Marine Science from Bogor Agricultural University and Master of Science in Biology from University of the Ryukyus Japan and joined the Barber lab  as a PhD student in fall 2015 supported by a fellowship from the Indonesian Ministry of Education.

Austin Betancourt

Austin came from San Jose State University where she joined the lab in 2020 as a Masters student and as a PhD student in 2022. She is broadly interested in evolutionary ecology and conservation genetics in marine environments. Her current research involves using genomics to understand population structure, genetic connectivity, and signals of selection in Dungeness crab across its native range. In addition to research, she is also interested in increasing diversity in STEM and participation from community college students in research. She is a 2018 Diversity Project alumni.

Candice Cross

Candice joined the Barber lab as a PhD student in 2019. She is broadly interested in marine foundation species shifts and how they impact the biodiversity of supported communities. Her thesis uses metagenomic tools to characterize the biodiversity of native and invasive seagrass beds in the Caribbean. As the invasive seagrass continues to displace natives, she hopes to understand the resulting ecological and trophic impacts of this invasion and their implications for management. Candice graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a B.S. in Biology. She is also passionate about increasing diversity in STEM by mentoring undergraduates through research and graduate school opportunities.

Eric Caldera

Eric joined the lab in 2018 as a Smithsonian postdoctoral research fellow. He is interested in microbial evolutionary ecology and is exploring the dynamics of marine microbial diversity in the Coral Triangle biodiversity hot spot. Eric’s Ph.D. research at the University of Wisconsin – Madison focused on coevolution and population genetic structure among fungal and bacterial symbionts of fungus-farming ants in neotropical rainforests. While currently focused on microbes, he has also worked with invasive fire ants, argentine ants, and threespine stickleback. Eric’s teaching experience includes Microbial Ecology, Evolution & Diversity (UW-Madison) and Introductory Biology, Advances in Microbiology (California State University – Fullerton). Eric received his B.S. (Biology) from the University of Texas at Austin.

John Amiel Flores

John Amiel joined the Barber Lab in 2021 as a PhD student. Their overarching research interest is in investigating and predicting how environmental change will affect coral reef ecosystems by understanding the interplay between the multiple scales of biology. John Amiel earned their B.S in Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity from UC Davis in 2021 where they worked with Dr. Rachael Bay and Dr. Anne Todgham. Alongside their research aspirations, John Amiel is dedicated to increasing diversity in STEM by continuing to mentor and teach students from underrepresented backgrounds and participating in outreach to make science more accessible. To learn more about John Amiel, visit their website here.

Kelcie Chiquillo

Kelcie joined the lab as a Ph.D student in 2014. She is broadly interested in marine conservation and invasive biology. Her thesis uses multidisciplinary approaches to understand the origins and ecological dynamics of an invasive seagrass in the Caribbean seas in hopes to better informing management. She received her B.S in Marine Biology and Limnology from San Francisco State University. She is an NSF Bridge to Doctorate Fellow and a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Contact

Sam Degregori

Sam joined the Barber lab in 2016 as a PhD student. He is largely interested in endogenous microbes that live in marine hosts and how these microbial communities are shaped by their host phylogeny and environment. He is currently investigating fish gut microbiomes and whether such microbial communities are altered by diet diversity and anthropogenic stressors. Sam graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a B.S. in Molecular Biology. In addition to conducting research, Sam is also dedicated to increasing diversity in STEM and using his thesis as a gateway for undergraduates to obtain experience in scientific research.

Onny Marwayana

Onny joined the lab as a master student in 2016 funded by USAID PRESTASI Scholarship. His current research focuses on using environmental DNA (eDNA) to ascertain the distribution and diversity of marine fishes across Indonesia and test the  efficiency of employing eDNA methods on time-series biodiversity monitoring. Since 2010, Onny has worked as a marine biologist in the Research Center for Oceanography, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). He holds a B.S. degree from Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia.

Kevin Rodriguez

Kevin Rodriguez  joined the lab in 2020 from the University of Miami  where he worked with Nikki Traylor-Knowles on gene expression in corals. For his PhD, he is focused on exploring the population genomics of corals on mesophotic reefs of the South Pacific.


Erick Zerecero Marin

Erick Zerecero Marin joined the lab as a PhD student in 2018. His current research focuses on toxin producing dinoflagellates and their relationship with Turbinaria ornata, a dominant macroalga on human impacted reefs in Moorea, French Polynesia. Current studies examine the impacts of increased T. ornata density on toxin producing dinoflagellates. He received his B.S in Environmental Science and a minor in Conservation Biology from UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He was awarded the 2018 NSF Graduate Fellowship and the Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship.