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Research Interests                                                                                      

I am an entomologist and ecologist interested in studying the impacts of emerging global change stressors on ecosystem function. I use a combination of on-farm studies and manipulative experiments to understand basic pollinator biology and drivers of pollination success to address applied questions for sustainable agricultural production and the conservation of natural resources. 



Ph.D. Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University; 2022. Thesis: Native pollinators in Australian apple orchards: pollinator efficiency, foraging behaviour, phylogenetic diversity of functional traits, and natural history. 

M.S. Entomology. University of Maryland, College Park; 2017. Thesis: The Maryland Native Pollinator Survey: combining citizen science with a specimen collection to determine the floral preferences of Maryland’s native pollinators. 


B.S. Biology + mathematics certificate. University of Wisconsin – Madison; 2014. Thesis: Response of native bees to fungicide: Health, colony success, foraging behavior and the microbial community. 

Grants and Awards
2022 – WI DATCP Specialty Crop Block Grant, USDA, Madison, WI, $99,511, January 2023 – January 2025. Quantifying the impacts of wildflower plantings on cranberry flower visitation by bees using automated monitoring.

2022 – IUSSI Travel Grant to attend the XIX International Congress of IUSSI, San Diego, CA, $3,500, July 2022. Division of foraging behaviour: adapting social insect indices for pollination.

2021 – USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowship, USDA, Madison, WI, $164,999, September 2021 – June 2023. Effects of rising CO2 levels on bumble bees: nutrition, foraging, and physiology

2019 – 2nd place Graduate Virtual Poster – Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting 2019, P-IE section, Student Competition. Pollinator efficiency in Australian apple crops: single viist experiment and pollen analysis. 

2019 – Research Grant, Illawarra Amateur Beekeepers Association, Sutherland, NSW, A$2,500, June 2019 – September 2021. Foraging behaviour of apple and cherry pollinators. 

2019 – F.G. Swain Award, Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW, A$9860.30, June 2019 – July 2021. Understanding native orchard pollinators: foraging behaviour, pollination efficiency, phylogenetic diversity, and the natural history of an allodapine bee.

2017 – PhD Scholarship, Postgraduate Research Award. Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW, A$90,000, March 2018 – March 2021. Understanding native orchard pollinators: foraging behaviour, pollination efficiency, phylogenetic diversity, and the natural history of an allodapine bee.

Publications (selected)

  • Tierney, SM, Bernauer, OM, King, LD, Spooner-Hart, R, Cook, JM (2023) Bee pollination services and the burden of biogeography. Proc Royal Soc B. 290(2000), 20230747.

  • Nacko, S, Hall, M, Spooner-Hart, R, Cook, J., Bernauer, OM, Riegler, M (2022) Cucurbit crops in temperate Australia are visited more by native solitary bees than stingless bees. Journal of Apicultural Research, 61(5), 675-687.

  • Bernauer, OM, Cook, JM, Tierney, SM (2022) Division of foraging behaviour: assessments of pollinator traits when visiting a model plant species. Animal Behaviour, 188, 169-179.

  • Garrett, MPD, DeGroot, GA, Albrecht, M, … Bernauer, OM and 33 others (2021) Opportunities to reduce pollination deficits and production shortfalls in a globally important crop. Ecological Applications, 31(8), 1-12.

  • Bernauer, OM*, Gaines-Day, HR*; Steffan, SA (2015) Colonies of Bumble Bees (Bombus impatiens) Produce Fewer Workers, Less Bee Biomass, and Have Smaller Mother Queens Following Fungicide Exposure. Insects, 6, 478–488.
    * Indicates equal author contributions

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