S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources
Graduate Mentor of the Year
Dr. Barbara J. Bentz has been a Research Entomologist in the Forest and Woodland Ecosystems Science Program within the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station for 25 years. Her research is focused on ecology and management of native bark beetles that are significant disturbance agents in forest ecosystems across western North America. Barbara’s long-term research on the influence of temperature on bark beetle seasonality, survival, and population success has enabled significant progress towards understanding and modeling climate change effects on population irruptions and subsequent landscape-scale tree mortality. Working with a diverse group of collaborators and students, her research on local adaptation of bark beetle populations and species-specific phylogeographic patterns in western North America provides an understanding of past processes that have shaped current disturbance interactions, and that are also important for understanding management of future forests in a changing climate. As an adjunct faculty member at Utah State University, she has enjoyed the opportunity to mentor undergraduate and graduate students from multiple colleges and departments, connecting them with field- and lab-based research critical to understanding disturbance patterns in western US forest ecosystems.