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Andrew M. Liebhold

Andrew M. Liebhold
Research Entomologist
Ecology and Management of Invasive Species and Forest Ecosystems
US Forest Service Northern Research Station
180 Canfield St.
Morgantown, WV 26505
United States
Current Research
Population biology of biological invasions

Much of my research focuses on understanding ecological processes operating during the arrival, establishment, and spread phases of biological invasions. In particular, I am interested in understanding these processes as the basis for more effective strategies to exclude invaders, prevent establishment (eradication) and contain the spread of invading forest pests. This work includes studies on the gypsy moth, Sirex woodwasp, beech bark disease, Japanese oak wilt disease, emerald ash borer and hemlock woolly adelgid.

Forest insect population dynamics

I am interested in understanding the processes that are responsible for the spatial and temporal patterns of forest insect outbreaks. Many insect species exhibit periodic population oscillations that occur synchronously over large areas but we have only a partial understanding of the population processes (interactions with predators, parasitoids, host plants and disease) that cause these patterns. Analyses of historical data and mathematical models are applied to explore these relationships. This work focuses on the gypsy moth, but includes several other forest insect species as well.

Why This Research Is Important
North America is currently experiencing an onslaught of invasions by damaging forest pest species. We need to develop more effective strategies for mitigating this problem. Unfortunately, there are often few options for preventing or minimizing the impacts of these invasions but the development of a clearer understanding of the invasion process is critical for the development of more effective management strategies.

Forest insect outbreaks have a multitude of ecological and economic impacts but currently we have a very limited ability to either predict or prevent such outbreaks. Knowledge of the underlying processes that generate outbreaks is critical for improving our ability to forecast and manage outbreaks in the future.

  • University of Massachusetts, Postdoctoral, , 1988
  • University of California at Berkeley, Ph.D., Entomology, 1984
  • Allegheny College, B.S., Biology, 1978
Professional Organizations
  • Adjunct Faculty,  West Virginia University,  1992 - Current
  • Elected Member,  Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). World Conservation Union (IUCN),  2005 - Current
  • Coordinator,  IUFRO Research Group 7.03.00, Entomology,  2005 - Current
  • Research Associate,  Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA,  1995 - Current
  • Editorial Board,  Population Ecology,  2005 - Current
  • Editorial Board,  Ecology Letters,  2010 - Current
  • Editorial Board,  Biological Invasions,  2013 - Current
  • Adjunct Faculty,  The Pennsylvania State University,  2003 - Current
Awards & Recognition
  • International Union of Forest Research Organizations Forest Health Achievement Award, 2019
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2015
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, National Gypsy Moth Management Board, 2011
    Lifetime Achievement Award, National Gypsy Moth Management Board
  • Sustaining Forests and Grasslands Award, Northern Research Station , 2011
  • Scientific Achievement Award, International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, 2010
  • Distinguished Science Award, Northeastern Research Station, 2006
    Distinguished Science Award, Northeastern Research Station
  • Forest Insect and Disease Resesarch Award, Forest Insect and Disease Research, USFS Headquarters, 1994
    Forest Insect and Disease Resesarch Award, Forest Insect and Disease Research, USFS Washington Office
  • Director's award for research excellence, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, 1994
    Director's award for research excellence, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Comparison of Native and Non-native Insect Communities Reflects Importance of Pathways

Year: 2016
Insect species are accidentally moved around the world and often cause considerable damage when established. An analysis of insect invasions worldwide demonstrates that the mechanisms by which insects are transported plays a key role in selecting which type of species invade new regions.

Predicting pest invasions

Year: 2017
During the last 150 years, hundreds of forest insects have been accidently introduced to the U.S., and many of these have caused substantial damage. The potential for new insect invasions remains as global trade continues to expand. Forest Service scientists and their partners developed a model to i...

Nonnative Invasive Insects and Diseases Decreasing Carbon Stored in U.S. Forests

Year: 2019
Photosynthesis feeds trees and has a significant benefit for people, too, namely the removal of carbon from the atmosphere and into live tree biomass through a process called “sequestration.” But USDA Forest Service scientists and a colleague found that increased tree mortality from the impacts of n...

A Tree Species’ Evolutionary History Predicts Impact of Invasive Pests

Year: 2020
Research by Northern Research Station scientists and their partners presents the first evidence supporting a long-held hypothesis that a tree’s evolutionary history is key to its susceptibility to nonnative herbivorous insects. This discovery has the potential to be a game-changer in predicting the ...