Barbara bentley, pHd


Barbara Bentley started her teaching career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa, where she taught 8th grade science for a semester before serving as 1/3 of the biology department at a regular 4-year liberal arts college 60 miles “up-country” from the capital city.

After the Peace Corps, Barbara returned to graduate school and, as a recipient of a graduate student research grant at OTS, completed her doctoral dissertation research on extrafloral nectaries in Costa Rica.  She continued to conduct research at OTS field stations for many years. Her research emphasized ecological interactions, usually from a plant’s point of view, including insect-plant interactions, nitrogen fixation in tropical rainforests, and the cascading effects of global environmental change on nitrogen-fixing legumes and their herbivores.

Barbara served on the faculty of Ecology and Evolution at SUNY Stony Brook for 25 years, teaching everything from introductory biology, to a non-majors’ course in the ecology of world food production, plant ecology, and numerous graduate seminars.  She has also taught in numerous OTS graduate courses.  She served on the OTS Board of Directors for 15 years, and as Vice President for Education for 7 years. She is a currently a member of the OTS Board of Visitors, and continues to work with OTS to develop high quality environmental education for teachers and the general public. 

Barbara is widely respected, both for her knowledge of tropical ecology, and as a master teacher of teachers” with unique insights into techniques and strategies for instructing both teachers and students in the nature and process of science.


A life of research, teaching, and service