Associate Professor of Biology
University of Pittsburgh, B.S.,1994
Clarion University of Pennsylvania, M.S.,1999
Kansas State University, PhD, 2003
My research interests fall at the intersections of parasitology, ecotoxicology, and community ecology. I am particularly interested in the role of parasites in ecosystems. Parasites are ubiquitous ecosystem components that negatively affect their host’s behavior, reproduction, and overall fitness. However, the broader ramifications of parasite and disease outbreaks on ecosystem energy flow and nutrient cycling remain unclear. Moreover, man-made contaminants and altered nutrient inputs are becoming standard components of most ecosystems worldwide. So we are interested in how contaminants alter parasite-host and predator-prey interactions. Our lab group tackles research questions using models, laboratory experiments, field experiments, and field surveys in both freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.
Current research activities include:
- Nematomorph prevalence and functional effects on insects in east-central Indiana. Parasitic worms in the phylum Nematomorpha have complex life cycles and spend time absorbing nutrients and growing to relatively large sizes before escaping from the abdomen of their hosts and entering aquatic environments. We are interested in the range of hosts that nematomorphs infect, how they alter the functioning of their host, and how altered host functioning cascades to other parts of the ecosystem
- Trematode effects on snail metabolism and nutrient recycling. Worms in the phylum Platyhelminthes spend part of their life cycle in a mollusk host where they often multiply while taking nutrients from their hosts. We are interested in whether the trematodes alter the behavior, shape, and metabolic functioning of their snail host and how these parasite-host interactions scale up to entire pond and stream ecosystems.
- Effects of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and nanomaterials on species interactions. Our natural waterways have a cocktail of potential contaminants that may affect animal behavior, life history, and population dynamics. We are interested in scaling these effects up to ecosystems using both model organisms like snails and Daphnia spp., and locally abundant invertebrate communities.
- Mosquito surveillance across Indiana. We collaborate with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to survey mosquitos across the state to monitor arboviruses that affect humans and animals
Students in the Bernot lab have pursued scientific studies in basic parasitology, behavioral ecology, tests of ecological theory, and ecotoxicology. The National Science Foundation, Indiana State Department of Health, and Indiana Academy of Science have provided funding for this research. Dr. Bernot teaches Principles of Biology 2 (BIO112), Methods in Ecology (BIO217), Invertebrate Zoology (ZOOL432), and Multivariate Statistics for Environmental Science (BIO657). Dr. Bernot is an active mentor in the Environmental Science PhD program and is currently accepting enthusiastic masters and doctoral students into his research group.
Jarvis, A.,M.J. Bernot, and R.J. Bernot. 2014. The effects of the pharmaceutical carbamazepine on life history characteristics of flat-headed mayflies (Heptageniidae) and aquatic resource interactions. Ecotoxicology: 23:1701-1712.
Jarvis, A., M.J. Bernot, and R.J. Bernot. 2014. The effects of the psychiatric drug carbamazepine on freshwater invertebrate communities and ecosystem dynamics. Science of the Total Environment 496: 461-470.
Jarvis, A., M.J. Bernot, and R.J. Bernot. 2014. Relationships between the psychiatric drug carbamazepine and freshwater macroinvertebrate community structure. Science of the Total Environment 496: 499-509.
Justice, J.R., and R.J. Bernot. 2014 Nanosilver inhibits freshwater gastropod (Physa acuta) ability to asses predation risk. American Midland Naturalist 171: 340-349.
Bernot, R.J., and M. Brandenburg. 2013. Freshwater snail vital rates affected by non-lethal concentrations of silver nanoparticles. Hydrobiologia 714: 25-34.
Bernot, R.J. 2013. Parasite host elemental content and the effects of a parasite on host consumer- driven nutrient recycling. Freshwater Science 32: 299-308.
Bernot, R.J., and G.A. Lamberti. 2008. Indirect effects of a parasite on a benthic community: an experiment with trematodes, snails, and periphyton. Freshwater Biology 53:322-329.
Bernot, R.J., W.K. Dodds, M.C. Quist, and C.S. Guy. 2006. Temperature and kairomone induced life history plasticity in coexisting Daphnia. Aquatic Ecology 40: 361-372.
Couling, D., R. Bernot, K. Docherty, J. Dixon, and E. Maginn. 2006. Assessing the factors responsible for ionic liquid toxicity to aquatic organisms via quantitative structure-property relationship modeling. Green Chemistry 8: 82-90.
Bernot, R.J., E. Kennedy, and G.A. Lamberti. 2005. Effects of ionic liquids on the survival, movement, and feeding behavior of the freshwater snail, Physa acuta. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 24: 1759-1765.
Bernot, R.J., M.A. Brueseke, M.A. Evans-White, and G.A. Lamberti. 2005. Acute and chronic toxicity of imidazolium-based ionic liquids on Daphnia magna. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 24: 87-92.
Bernot, R.J., W.K. Dodds, M.C. Quist, and C.S. Guy. 2004. Spatial and temporal variability of zooplankton in a Great Plains reservoir. Hydrobiologia 525: 101-112.
Bernot, R.J., W.K. Dodds, M.C. Quist, and C.S. Guy. 2004. Larval fish-induced phenotypic plasticity of coexisting Daphnia: an enclosure experiment. Freshwater Biology 49: 87-97.
Bernot, R.J. 2003. Trematode infection alters the antipredator behavior of a pulmonate snail. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 22: 241-248.
Bernot, R.J., and K. Whittinghill. 2003. Population differences in effects of fish on Physa integra refuge use. American Midland Naturalist 150: 51-57.
Quist, M.C., C.S. Guy, R.J. Bernot, and J.L. Stephen. 2002. Seasonal variation in condition, growth, and food habits of walleyes in a Great Plains reservoir and simulated effects of an altered thermal regime. Journal of Fish Biology 61: 1329-1344.
Quist, M.C., C.S. Guy, R.J. Bernot, and J.L. Stephen. 2002. Ecology of larval white bass in a large Kansas reservoir. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 22: 637-642
Bernot, R.J., and A.M. Turner. 2001. Predator identity and trait-mediated indirect effects in a littoral food web. Oecologia 129: 139-146.