Dr. Andrew (“Sandy”) Liebhold, a research entomologist with the U.S. Forest Service is internationally recognized for his work on the population ecology of forest insects, and in particular his work on the ecology of insect invasions.
Liebhold grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and Bethesda, Maryland, and had a childhood fascination with forests and nature. His pursuit of entomology began while working as a summer intern in a USDA honey bee laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, as a high school student. He received his B.S. in biology from Allegheny College in 1978 and his Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California, Berkeley. From 1984 to 1988, Liebhold worked on Lymantria dispar population ecology as a postdoctoral with Joseph Elkinton at the University of Massachusetts. In 1988 he began his current position as a scientist with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station in Morgantown, West Virginia. Currently, Liebhold is also partially affiliated with the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Additionally, he serves as a research leader at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic, where he leads an insect invasion research group. During the course of his career, Liebhold has served as an officer and conference organizer with the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). He has also organized and led several interdisciplinary scientific working groups focusing on various aspects of invasion ecology at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center.
Liebhold’s research focuses on the ecology of forest insects. Part of his work focuses on understanding the population processes responsible for spatiotemporal patterns of insect outbreaks, but a larger part of his research focuses on the ecology and management of biological invasions. Liebhold’s work has provided new insight to the invasion pathways responsible for the global spread of non-native insect species and the socioeconomic factors driving those invasions. His work has yielded a new understanding of population processes operating during the establishment phase of invasions and new strategies for applying this information in surveillance, eradication, and barrier zone projects. Liebhold’s research has provided an improved understanding of how forest insect invasions alter forest ecosystems across large landscapes. Much of his current work focuses on understanding ecological and socioeconomic drivers of the biogeographic patterns of global insect invasions.
Liebhold has published over 270 papers in peer-reviewed journals and currently serves on the editorial boards for the journals Population Ecology and Biological Invasions. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2015 and was awarded the Scientific Achievement Award from IUFRO in 2010 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Gypsy Moth Management Board in 2011. He is adjunct faculty in the West Virginia University Department of Geology and Geography and a research associate of the Carnegie Museum.
Liebhold is married to Genevieve Bardwell (retired baker) and they have two daughters, Katy Ryan (legal assistant, Ft. Collins, Colorado) and Naomi Liebhold (educator, Bellingham, Washington).