James (Jeb) Byers

Odum School of Ecology
University of Georgia
140 E. Green St.
Athens, GA 30602

Our lab's work on crab and oyster reef ecology was recently featured on Georgia Outdoors (our portion starts at minute 8:30)

(706) 583-0012







Photo Credit: Paul Gribben

Marine community and population ecology; Biological invasions; Conservation biology

I have broad ecological research interests that involve the study of species interactions in nearshore, estuarine, and marsh environments. The majority of my research focuses on quantitatively measuring impacts of non-indigenous species on native biota in invaded marine communities. Interactions with non-native species are the second leading cause of endangerment and extinction of native species. Therefore I have sought to develop and implement new quantitative tools that 1) aid our understanding of how and when invading species will impact native systems and 2) help increase our ability to predict outcomes of future invasions.


Some of my additional projects and interests include the study of:

  • Effects of parasites on communities and species interactions
  • Physical-biological coupling in estuaries
  • Habitat modifying species and other ecosystem engineers
  • Design and function of marine reserves
  • Development of biological indicators for detection of environmental perturbations
  • Biogeographic patterns in species' ranges


I approach all of my projects with experimental manipulations and modeling, and in general, I am a strong proponent of incorporating quantitative approaches in ecological studies whenever possible. In many of my field experiments I have utilized molluscs as study organisms, because this phylum is well suited to experimental manipulation and typically associated with a wide range of digenetic parasites.

My interests in ecology extend beyond those in which I am currently involved. I welcome graduate students with a strong work ethic who are eager to address ecological questions with quantitative rigor and innovation. I push students into developing strong, independent, creative ideas and I stress the importance of placing research into a broad context that is relevant to important ecological and conservation questions.



Adjunct and Previous Affiliations:

Affiliate Faculty, University of New Hampshire
Adjunct Faculty, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
Visiting Fellow (2007-08), University of Wollongong and University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Post-doctoral Fellow, Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara


  • Byers, J. E. 1999. The distribution of an introduced mollusc and its role in the long-term demise of a native confamilial species. Biological Invasions 1(4): 339-353 pdf

  • Parker, I., D. Simberloff, M. Lonsdale, K. Goodell, M. Wonham, P. Kareiva, M. Williamson, B. Von Holle, P. Moyle, J. E. Byers, L. Goldwasser. 1999. Impact: toward a framework for understanding the ecological effects of invaders. Biological Invasions 1(1): 3-19 pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2000. Competition between two estuarine snails: implications for invasions of exotic species. Ecology 81(5): 1225-1239 pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2000. Effects of body size and resource availability on dispersal in a native and a non-native estuarine snail. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 248(2): 133-150 pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2000. Differential susceptibility to hypoxia aids estuarine invasion. Marine Ecology Progress Series 203: 123-132 pdf

  • Byers, J. E. and L. Goldwasser. 2001. Exposing the mechanism and timing of impact of non-indigenous species on native species. Ecology 82(5): 1330-1343 pdf

  • Lenihan, H. S., C. H. Peterson, J. E. Byers, J. H. Grabowski, and G. Thayer. 2001. Cascading of habitat degradation: oyster reefs invaded by refugee fishes escaping stress. Ecological Applications 11(3): 764-782 pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2002. Physical habitat attribute mediates biotic resistance to non-indigenous species invasion. Oecologia 130(1): 146-156 pdf

  • Byers, J. E., S. Reichard, J. Randall, I. Parker, et al. 2002. Directing research to reduce the impacts of nonindigenous species. Conservation Biology 16(3): 630-640 pdf

  • Byers, J. E., 2002. Impact of non-indigenous species enhanced by anthropogenic alteration of selection regimes. Oikos 97(3): 449-458 pdf

  • Byers, J. E. and E. Noonburg 2003. Scale dependent effects of biotic resistance to biological invasion. Ecology 84(6): 1428-1433 pdf

  • Meyer, J. and J. E. Byers 2005. As good as dead? Sublethal predation faciliates lethal predation on an intertidal clam. Ecology Letters 8(2): 160-166 pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2005. Marine reserves enhance abundance but not competitive impacts of a harvested nonindigneous species. Ecology 86(2): 487-500 pdf

  • Noonburg, E. G. and J. E. Byers 2005. More harm than good: when invader vulnerability to predators enhances impact on native species. Ecology 86(10): 2555-2560 pdf

  • Torchin, M., J. E. Byers, and T. Huspeni. 2005. Differential parasitism of native and introduced snails: replacement of a parasite fauna. Biological Invasions 7(6): 885-894. pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2005. Quantifying geographical variation in physiological performance to address the absence of invading species. Ecoscience 12(3): 358-365; [Special volume: Spatial and temporal dynamics of biological invasions] pdf

  • Reusink, J., H. Lenihan, A. Trimble, K. Heiman, F. Micheli, J. E. Byers, and M. Kay. 2005. Introduction of non-native oysters: ecosystem effects and restoration implications. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 36: 643-689. pdf

  • Griffen, B. D. and J. E. Byers. 2006. Partitioning mechanisms of predator interference in different habitats. Oecologia 146(4): 608-614. pdf

  • Byers, J. E. and J.M. Pringle. 2006. Going against the flow: retention, range limits and invasions in advective environments. Marine Ecology Progress Series 313: 27-41. pdf

  • Griffen, B. D. and J. E. Byers. 2006. Intraguild predation reduces redundancy of predator species in multiple predator assemblage. Journal of Animal Ecology 75: 959-966. pdf

  • Freeman, A. and J. E. Byers. 2006. Divergent induced responses to an invasive predator in marine mussel populations. Science 313 (5788): 831-833. pdf ;
    [Article summarized in Science for "News of the Week, Evolution" pdf;
    Audio Archive of story on National Public Radio]

  • Byers, J. E., K. Cuddington, C.G. Jones, T.S. Talley, A. Hastings, J.G. Lambrinos, J.A. Crooks, W. Wilson. 2006. Using ecosystem engineers to restore ecological systems. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 21(9): 493-500. pdf

  • Griffiths, J., M. Dethier, A. Newsom, J. E. Byers, J. Meyer, F. Oyarzun, and H. Lenihan. 2006. Invertebrate community responses to recreational clam digging. Marine Biology 149(6): 1489-1497. pdf

  • Hastings, A., J. E. Byers, J.A. Crooks, K. Cuddington, C.G. Jones, J.G. Lambrinos, T.S. Talley, W. Wilson. 2007. Ecosystem engineering in space and time. Ecology Letters 10(2): 153-164. pdf

  • Tyrell, M. C. and J. E. Byers. 2007. Do artificial substrates favor nonindigenous fouling species over natives? Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 342: 54-60. pdf

  • Wood, C. L.*, J. E. Byers, K. Cottingham, I. Altman, M. Donahue, and A. Blakeslee. 2007. Parasites alter community structure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104(22): 9335-9339. pdf
    [*winner of ESA's Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research Award 2008]

  • Byers, J. E. and E. G. Noonburg. 2007. Poaching, enforcement, and the efficacy of marine reserves. Ecological Applications 17(7): 1851-1856. pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2007. Lessons from disparate ecosystem engineers. In: Ecosystem engineering: plants to protists. Eds.: K. Cuddington, J. E. Byers, W. Wilson & A. Hastings. Academic Press. pdf of proofs

  • Byers, J. E., A. Blakeslee, E. Linder, A. Cooper, and T. Maguire. 2008. Controls of spatial variation in the prevalence of trematode parasites infecting a marine snail. Ecology 89(2): 439-451. pdf (or for low resolution version click here: pdf)

  • Blakeslee, A. and J. E. Byers. 2008. Using parasites to inform ecological history: comparisons among three congeneric marine snails. Ecology 89(4):1068-1078. pdf

  • Byers, J. E. and J. M. Pringle. 2008. Going against the flow: how invasions spread and persist in the face of advection. [Extended Abstract]. ICES Journal of Marine Science 65: 723-724. pdf

  • Hellmann, J.J., J. E. Byers, B.G. Bierwagen, and J.S. Dukes. 2008. Five potential consequences of climate change for invasive species. Conservation Biology 22(3): 534-543. pdf

  • Blakeslee, A., J. E. Byers, M.P. Lesser. 2008. Solving cryptogenic histories using host and parasite molecular genetics: the resolution of Littorina littorea's North American origin. Molecular Ecology 17(16): 3684-3696. pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2009. Competition in Marine Invasions. In: Biological Invasions in Marine Ecosystems, Ecological Studies 204, Eds. Gil Rilov & Jeff Crooks. Springer-Verlag. pps. 245-260. pdf

  • Griffen, B. D. and J. E. Byers. 2009. Community impacts of two invasive crabs: the interactive roles of density, prey recruitment, and indirect effects. Biological Invasions 11(4): 927-940. pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2009. Including parasites in food webs. Trends in Parasitology 25(2): 55-57. pdf

  • Byers, J. E. 2009. Invasive animals in marshes: biological agents of change. In: Human impacts on salt marshes: A global perspective, Eds.: Brian Silliman, Edwin Grosholz & Mark Bertness. University of California Press. pp. 41-56. pdf

  • Freeman, A., J. Meszaros, and J. E. Byers. 2009. Poor phenotypic integration of blue mussel inducible defenses in environments with multiple predators. Oikos 118: 758-766. pdf

  • Brawley, S. H., J.A. Coyer, A.M.H. Blakeslee, G. Hoarau, L.E. Johnson, J. E. Byers, W.T. Stam and J.L. Olsen. 2009. Historical invasions of the intertidal zone of Atlantic North America associated with distinctive patterns of trade and emigration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(20): 8239-8244. pdf

  • Gribben, P. E., J. E. Byers, M. Clements, L. A. McKenzie, P. D. Steinberg, and J. T. Wright. 2009. Behavioural interactions between ecosystems engineers control community species richness. Ecology Letters 12(11): 1127-1136. pdf

  • Blakeslee, A.M.H., C.L. Keogh, J. E. Byers, A. M. Kuris, K. D. Lafferty, and M. E. Torchin. 2009. Differential escape from parasites by two competing introduced crabs. Marine Ecology Progress Series 393: 83-96. pdf

  • Byers, J. E., P.E. Gribben, and J.T Wright. 2010. Variable direct and indirect effects of a habitat-modifying invasive species on mortality of native fauna. Ecology 91(6): 1787-1798. pdf

  • Wright, J.T., J. E. Byers, L.P. Koukoumaftsis, P.J. Ralph, and P.E. Gribben. 2010. Native species behavior mitigates the impact of habitat-forming invasive seaweed. Oecologia 163(2): 527-534. pdf

  • Jones, C.G., J. L. Gutiérrez, J. E. Byers, J.A. Crooks, J.G. Lambrinos, and T.S. Talley. 2010. A framework for understating physical ecosystem engineering by organisms. Oikos 119: 1862-1869. pdf

  • Blakeslee, A.M.H., C.H. McKenzie, J. Darling, J. E. Byers, J.M. Pringle, and J. Roman. 2010. A hitchhiker's guide to the Maritimes: anthropogenic transport facilitates long-distance dispersal of an invasive marine crab to Newfoundland. Diversity and Distributions 16(6): 879-891. pdf

  • Gutiérrez, J. L., C. G. Jones, J. E. Byers, K. K. Arkema, K. Berkenbusch, J. A. Commito, C. M. Duarte, S. D. Hacker, I. E. Hendriks, P. J. Hogarth, J. G. Lambrinos, M. G. Palomo, C. Wild. 2011. Physical ecosystem engineers and the functioning of estuaries and coasts. Chapter 5, in Vol. 7: Functioning of Estuaries and Coastal Ecosystems. Eds.: C. H. R. Heip, C. J. M., Philippart, & J. J. Middelburg. In the Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science (Series Eds., E. Wolanski, & D. McLusky), Elsevier. pdf (or for low resolution version click here: pdf)

  • Byers, J. E., I. Altman, A. Grosse, T. Huspeni, and J.C. Maerz. 2011. Using parasitic trematode larvae to quantify an elusive vertebrate host. Conservation Biology 25(1): 85-93. pdf

  • Meyer, J. J. and J. E. Byers. 2011. Human-driven spatial and temporal shift in trophodynamics in the Gulf of Maine, USA. Marine Biology 158(3): 631-638. pdf

  • Altman, I., A. M. H. Blakeslee, G. C. Osio, C. Rillahan, S. J. Teck, J. J. Meyer, J. E. Byers, and A. A. Rosenberg. 2011. A practical approach to implementation of ecosystem-based management: a case study using the Gulf of Maine marine ecosystem. Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment 9(3): 183-189. pdf

  • Pringle, J.M., A.M.H. Blakeslee, J. E. Byers, and J. Roman. 2011. Asymmetric dispersal allows an upstream region to control population structure throughout a species' range. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108(37): 15288-15293. pdf

  • Canning-Clode, J., A.E. Fowler, J. E. Byers, J.T. Carlton, and G.M. Ruiz. 2011. 'Caribbean Creep' chills out: climate change and marine invasive species. PLoS ONE 6(12): e29657. pdf

  • Wright, J.T., J. E. Byers, L.P. Koukoumaftsis, and P.E. Gribben. 2012. Differences in anti-predator traits of a native bivalve following invasion by a habitat-forming seaweed. Marine & Freshwater Research 63: 246-250. pdf

  • Blakeslee, A.M.H., I. Altman, A.W. Miller, J. E. Byers, C.E. Hamer and G.M. Ruiz. 2012. Parasites and invasions: a biogeographic examination of parasites and hosts in native and introduced ranges. J. of Biogeography 39: 609-622. pdf

  • Wright, J.T., P.E. Gribben, J. E. Byers, K. Monro. 2012. Invasive ecosystem engineer selects for different phenotypes of an associated native species. Ecology 93(6): 1262-1268. pdf

  • Bishop, M. J., J. E. Byers, B.J. Marcek, and P.E. Gribben. 2012. Density-dependent facilitation cascades determine epifaunal community structure in temperate Australian mangroves. Ecology 93(6): 1388-1401. pdf

  • Byers, J. E., P.E. Gribben, C. Yeager, and E. Sotka. 2012. Impacts of an abundant invasive ecosystem engineer within mudflats of the southeastern US coast. Biological Invasions 14: 2587-2600. pdf

  • Dunn, A.M., M.E. Torchin, M.J. Hatcher, P.M. Kotanen , D.M. Blumenthal, J.E. Byers, C.A.C. Coon, V.M. Frankel, R.D. Holt, R.A. Hufbauer, A.R. Kanarek, K.A. Schierenbeck, L.M. Wolfe, and S.E. Perkins. 2012. Indirect effects of parasites in invasions. Functional Ecology 26: 1262-1274. pdf

  • Burfeind, D.D., K.A. Pitt, R.M. Connolly, and J. E. Byers. 2013. Performance of non-native species within marine reserves. Biological Invasions 15: 17-28. pdf

  • Byers, J. E., W.G. McDowell, S. Robertson, R. Haynie, L.M. Pintor, & S.B. Wilde. 2013. Climate and pH predict the potential range of the invasive apple snail (Pomacea insularum) in the southeastern United States. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56812. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056812 pdf

  • Gribben, P.E. , J. E. Byers, J.T. Wright and T.M. Glasby. 2013. Positive versus negative effects of an invasive ecosystem engineer on different components of a marine ecosystem. Oikos. 122: 816–824. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2012.20868.x pdf

  • Parker, J. D., M.E. Torchin, R.A. Hufbauer, N.P. Lemoine, C. Alba, D.M. Blumenthal, O. Bossdorf, J. E. Byers, A.M. Dunn, R.W. Heckman, M. Hejda, V. Jarošík, A.R. Kanarek, L.B. Martin, S.E. Perkins, P. Pyšek, K. Schierenbeck, C. Schlöder, R. van Klinken, K.J. Vaughn, W. Williams, L.M. Wolfe. 2013. Do invasive species perform better in their new ranges? Ecology 94(5): 985–994. pdf

  • Wonham, M., J. E. Byers, E.D. Grosholz, & B. Leung. 2013. Modeling the relationship between invasion risk and propagule pressure to inform invasion-management policy. Ecological Applications 23(7): 1691-1706. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/12-1985.1 pdf

  • Altman, S., J. Robinson, J. M. Pringle, J. E. Byers, & J. P. Wares. 2013. Edges and overlaps in North Atlantic phylogeography. Diversity 5, 263-275; doi:10.3390/d5020263 (Special volume: Biogeography and Biodiversity Conservation). pdf

  • Colautti, R. I., S.J. Franks, R.A. Hufbauer, P.M. Kotanen, M.E. Torchin, J.E. Byers, P. Pyšek, O. Bossdorf. 2014. The global garlic mustard field survey (GGMFS): challenges and opportunities of a unique, large-scale collaboration for invasion biology. Neobiota 21: 29-47. pdf

  • Byers, J. E. and J.H. Grabowski. 2014. Soft-sediment communities. In: Marine Community Ecology. Eds.: Mark Bertness, Brian Silliman, Jay Stachowicz & John Bruno. Sinauer. pdf

  • Byers, J. E., T. L. Rogers, J. H. Grabowski, A.R. Hughes, M. F. Piehler, & D. L. Kimbro. 2014. Host and parasite recruitment correlated at a biogeographic scale. Oecologia 174: 731-738. pdf

  • Thomsen, M. S., J. E. Byers, D. R. Schiel, J. F. Bruno, J. D. Olden, T. Wernberg, & B. R. Silliman. 2014. Impacts of marine invaders on biodiversity depend on trophic position and functional similarity. Marine Ecology Progress Series 495: 39-47. pdf

  • Pringle, J. M., J. E. Byers, P. Pappalardo, J.P. Wares & D. Marshall. 2014. Circulation constrains the evolution of larval development modes and life histories in the coastal ocean. Ecology 95: 1022-1032. pdf

  • Altman, I. and J. E. Byers. 2014. Large scale spatial variation in parasite communities influenced by anthropogenic factors. Ecology 95(7): 1876-1887. pdf

  • McDowell, W.G., A. J. Benson, & J. E. Byers. 2014. Climate controls the distribution of an abundant invasive species: implications for future range expansion. Freshwater Biology 59: 847-857. pdf

  • Thomsen, M. S., T. Wernberg, J. D. Olden, J. E. Byers, J. F. Bruno, B. R. Silliman, & D. R. Schiel. 2014. Forty years of experiments on invasive species: are biases limiting our understanding of impacts? Neobiota 22: 1-22. doi: 10.3897/neobiota.22.6224. pdf

  • Byers, J. E., R. S. Smith, H. W. Weiksel, & C. Y. Robertson. 2014. A non-native prey mediates the effects of a shared predator on an ecosystem service. PLoS One 9(4): e93969. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093969. pdf

  • Kimbro, D. L., J. E. Byers, J. H. Grabowski, A.R. Hughes, & M. F. Piehler. (in press, 2014). The biogeography of trophic cascades on U.S. oyster reefs. Ecology Letters. pdf

  • Wright, J. T., J. E. Byers, J. L. DeVore, & E. E. Sotka. (in press, 2014). Engineering or food? Mechanisms of facilitation by a habitat-forming invasive seaweed. Ecology.

  • BOOK
    K. Cuddington, J. E. Byers, W. Wilson and A. Hastings, editors. 2007. Ecosystem engineering: plants to protists. Academic Press. book jacket

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