Backpacker

Olivia Bernauer

Pollination biologist

Welcome to my CV. Please have a look around. If you have questions or collaboration suggestions, I'd love to hear from you. 

MY STORY

Who I Am

I love plants, more specifically, I love flowers. And I'm pretty confident that's how I got here. As a curious child I knew the names of every flower I encountered and as I grew my curiosity also grew to encompass all living things. I made friends with entomology while doing stream ecology research and quickly fell in love after taking my first entomology course. My senior thesis research opened my eyes to the world of bumble bees and native pollinators. Naturally, I found myself in graduate school, diving ever deeper into the intimate relationships between flowers and their various insect visitors - a subject I can't imagine ever getting tired of. 

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Bombus muscorum on an allium. Sintra, Portugal, July 2017.

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Lytta magister, the desert blister beetle. Phoenix, Arizona, March 2017.

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Limenitis arthemis astyanax on Queen Anne's lace. Middleton, Wisconsin, August 2017.

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Conocephalus brevipennis. Bagley, Wisconsin, September 2017.

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Toxomerus marginatus on brittlebush, Encelia farinosa. Phoenix, Arizona, January 2018.

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Melissodes bimaculata on moss roses. Middleton, Wisconsin, August 2017.

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PhD in Entomology, Western Sydney University - Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

March 2018 - May 2021  - Advisor: Dr. James M. Cook and Dr. Simon M. Tierney- Richmond, NSW Australia
Thesis title: Native pollinators in Australian apple orchards: pollination efficiency, foraging behaviour, phylogenetic diversity of functional traits, and natural history

Master's of Entomology, University of Maryland, College Park

April 2015 - May 2017 - Advisor: Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp - College Park, MD

Thesis title: The Maryland Native Pollinator Survey: combining citizen science with a specimen collection to determine the floral preferences of Maryland's native pollinators

Bachelors of Science in Biology, Mathematics Certificate, University of Wisconsin - Madison 

September 2011 - December 2014 - Senior Thesis Advisors: Dr. Shawn Steffan and Dr. Hannah Gaines Day - Madison, WI 

Thesis title: Response of native bees to fungicide: Health, colony success, foraging behavior and the microbial community. 

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RESEARCH EXPERIENCE

EDUCATION

 
 

USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Dr. James D. Crall and Dr. Lewis H. Ziska

September 2021 - September 2023

Effects of rising CO2 levels on bumble bees: nutrition, foraging, and physiology

Graduate Research Assistant, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW, Dr. James M. Cook and Dr. Simon M. Tierney

March 2018 - present

Studied on-flower pollinator foraging behavior and insect-insect interaction in apple and cherry. Assessed pollination efficiency of apple and cherry pollinators with a single visit experiment, by measuring pollen fidelity, and pollen deposition. Described the natural history, life cycle, and social structure of the Allodapine bee Exoneura angophorae through nest collection, nest dissection, and female bee dissection and morphometrics.

Research Assistant, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Dr. Claudio Gratton and Dr. Hannah Gaines Day

May 2017 - February 2018

Assessed pollination services by measuring fruit and seed set in apple orchards. Conducted floral surveys and assessed bumble bee populations in and around cranberry marshes. Collaborated with Dr. Rufus Isaacs at Michigan State University to assess how proximity to restored cropland affects honey bee colony health and foraged pollen composition. Organized and managed an extensive insect collection and associated database. Developed a certification program for pollinator-friendly solar arrays in Wisconsin. Created pollinator-focused educational materials. Assisted with study development and grant writing.  

Graduate Research Assistant, University of Maryland, College Park, Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp

April 2015 - May 2017

Restructured and conducted a citizen science project in conjunction with a specimen collection to evaluate floral preferences of and make planting recommendations for Maryland's native pollinators. Developed a method to quantitatively assess the value of flowering plant species to pollinators. Collected and identified native bees to establish a baseline data set of the bee species present on the University of Maryland's campus. Assisted with honey bee colony management and maintenance. Aided in efforts to reinstate the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly on campus by creating butterfly-friendly habitat and educating citizens about conserving the important, locally-imperiled species. Orally presented findings to both academic and outreach audiences. 

Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Dr. Shawn Steffan and Dr. Hannah Gaines Day

January 2014 - April 2015

Designed and conducted independent research on the effects of fungicide on native bee species in a field setting. Created protocols to process collected samples and composed a Senior Thesis on my findings. Assessed cranberry pest populations by sweep netting, pheromone trapping, and scouting for pest damage throughout the field season. Prepared samples for stable isotope analysis, cultured microbes, and conducted PCR. Presented results of independent research to scientific peers. 

Field Research and Mentoring, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Dr. Robert Bohanan 

May 2012 - September 2012

Mentored three high school students in the Summer Science Institute while simultaneously completing independent stream arthropod ecology research. 

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PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Volunteer Board of DirectorsUpper Sugar River Watershed Association, Mount Horeb, WI

September 2021 - present

Assisted with event and outreach planning, created educational materials. 

Volunteer Board of Directors, Upper Sugar River Watershed Association, Mount Horeb, WI

August 2017 - February 2018

Assisted with event and outreach planning, created educational materials. 

Writing Workshop by Joshua Schimel, University of Maryland, College Park

January 2017

Attended a two-day writing workshop hosted by Joshua Schimel where I improved my abilities to think critically about and provide constructive feedback on writing structure and style. 

Treasurer, Entomology Student Organization

University of Maryland, College Park

August 2016 - May 2017

Managed finances and organized events for the Entomology Student Organization. 

Facilitator for the Maryland Managed Pollinator Protection Plan summit, University of Maryland, College Park 

January 2016

Facilitated pollinator health focused conversations with stakeholders to develop Maryland's Managed Pollinator Protection Plan. 

PollinaTerps Member, University of Maryland, College Park

April 2015 - May 2017

Developed educational materials on local pollinators and planting pollinator gardens. Supervised undergraduate students at outreach events in the community. 

Alpha Chi Sigma, Professional Chemistry fraternity, Member, Outreach chair and Professional Semester, University of Wisconsin-Madison

January 2015 - December 2014

Planned and facilitated outreach events while serving as Outreach Chair for the duration of a year. Organized and participated in weekly tutoring and peer advising events as Professional Semester. Formed relationships with peers, providing a sense of community. 

Rooftop Intern, Madison Children's Museum, Madison, Wisconsin

2012 - 2014

Fostered children's learning about local plants, animals, and how to live sustainably. Cared for the rooftop plants and animals year-round and planned and carried out educational programs for children. 

ESA P-IE Committee Service, Entomological Society of America 

August 2018 - Present

Compiled high-quality pollinator resources for the United Stated to build a country-wide database of educational resources. Assisted with organization and facilitation of pollinator-related events through ESA's P-IE

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TEACHING & MENTORING EXPERIENCE

 

Invertebrate Biology Laboratory Practical, Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW

September 2020

Prepared and conducted an interactive laboratory practical investigating foraging behavior on

apple flowers in two bee species using video recordings collected during my research.

Supervisor, Western Sydney Summer Student Research Program, Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW

November 2019 - February 2020

Mentored an undergraduate student on pollen mounting and identification techniques, the scientific method, and science writing.

Supervisor, Western Sydney Summer Student Research Program, Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW

November 2018 - February 2019

Mentored an undergraduate student on insect identification, the scientific method, and science writing.

Teaching Assistant for BSCI112: Beekeeping, University of Maryland, College Park

September - December 2016

Prepared lesson plans and created assignments for the course. Conducted experiments and activities in the classroom and the apiary with undergraduate students.

Teaching Assistant for BSCI337: Biology of Insects Laboratory, University of Maryland, College Park

January - May 2016

Redesigned the curriculum of the laboratory portion of Biology of Insects to include an ecology component in addition to a taxonomy component. 

Private and Volunteer Tutor, Madison, Wisconsin

2010-2015

Tutored students from elementary school to college students. Worked with students with and without learning disabilities is a variety of subjects from Spanish to mathematics. 

 
Panoramic photo of mosquito tents and vegetation used in a bumble bee field cage study.

PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS

Professional

Publications

Selected Presentations

  • Bernauer, O.M., Cook, J.M., Tierney, S.M. Linking bee pollinators to fruit yield and quality: combining functional trait analysis with phylogenetic relatedness. Presented at the Australian Bee Genomics Meeting, 2019 December 5-7; Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O.M., Cook, J.M., Tierney, S.M. Social biology of an allodapine bee from the Blue Mountains Range. Presented by Tierney, S.M. at the Australian Evolution Society Meeting 2019, 2019 November 24-27; Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O.M., Tierney, S.M., Cook, J.M. A year in the life of a Blue Mountains Allodapine bee. Presented at the 2019 Linnean Society of NSW Natural History Field Symposium, 2019 November 8; Springwood, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O.M., Tierney, S.M., Cook, J.M. From flower to fruit: apple and cherry pollination. Presented at: the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment 3 Minute Thesis competition, 2019 July 1; Richmond, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O.M., Tierney, S.M., Cook, J.M. Apple pollinator efficiency: single visit experiment and loose pollen grain analysis. Poster presented at: Higher Degree Research Candidate and Masters Forum, 2019 June 12-14; Richmond, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O.M., Tierney, S.M., Cook, J.M. Understanding apple and cherry pollinators: comparing pollinator effectiveness. Presented at: The Art and Science of Beekeeping, 2019 June 7-9; Richmond, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O.M., Tierney, S.M., Cook, J.M. Understanding native pollinators of apple and cherry: foraging behaviour, pollination efficiency, pollinator phylogenetics, and the natural history of allodapine bees. Presented at: Sydney Bee Meeting 2019, 2019 February 7; Pearl Beach, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O. M., vanEngelsdorp, D. The Maryland Native Pollinator Survey: combining citizen science with a specimen collection to determine the floral preferences of Maryland’s native pollinators. Presented at: Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, 2018 November 8; Richmond, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Tierney, S. M., Brettell, L. E., Bernauer, O. M., and 3 others. The nascent potential of Australian native bee pollination services. Presented at: First Australian Native Bee Conference, 2018 June 1; Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

  • Cook, J.M., Tierney, S., Gilpin, A-M., Brettell, L., Vella, L., Bernauer, O. M., and 4 others. Native bees and crop pollination in NSW apple orchards. Presented at: First Australian Native Bee Conference, 2018 June 1; Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O.M., Tierney, S. M., Cook, J.M. Understanding native pollinators: efficacy of foraging behaviour and nesting biology of allodapine bees. Presented at: Higher Degree Research Candidate and Masters Forum, 2018 June 25-27; Richmond, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O. M., vanEngelsdorp, D. The Maryland Native Pollinator Survey: combining citizen science with a specimen collection to determine the floral preferences of Maryland’s native pollinators. Presented at: University of Maryland Department of Entomology Colloquium, 2017 April 21; College Park, Maryland.

  • Bernauer, O. M., vanEngelsdorp, D. The Maryland Native Pollinator Survey: utilizing Citizen Scientists to determine the floral preferences of Maryland’s native pollinators. Poster presented at: XXV International Congress of Entomology, 2016 September 25-30; Orlando, Florida.

  • Bernauer, O. M., vanEngelsdorp, D. The Maryland Native Pollinator Survey: utilizing Citizen Scientists to determine the floral preferences of Maryland’s native pollinators. Poster presented at: International Conference on Pollinator Biology, Health and Policy, 2016 July 18-20; State College, Pennsylvania.

  • Bernauer, O. M., vanEngelsdorp, D. The Maryland Native Pollinator Survey: utilizing Citizen Scientists to determine the floral preferences of Maryland’s native pollinators. Poster presented at: Smithsonian Botanical Symposium, 2016 May 20; Washington, D.C.

  • Bernauer, O. M., Traynor, K. S., vanEngelsdorp, D. Honey Bee Health: The Complex Web of Colony Losses. Presented at: Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes Conference; 2015 Oct 12-14; Hendersonville, North Carolina. (Keynote)

  • Bohanan, R., Bernauer, O.M., et al., Interaction of Land Use or Landscape Position and Microhabitat on Urban Stormwater: Integrating Research and Education in Citizen Science. Poster presented at: NALMS 32nd International Symposium; 2012 Nov 7-9; Madison, Wisconsin.

  • Bohanan, R., Bernauer, O.M., et al., Interaction of Land Use or Landscape Position and Microhabitat on Urban Stormwater: Integrating Research and Education in Citizen Science. Poster presented at: 2012 LTER ASM; 2012 Sep 10-13; Estes Park, Colorado.

 

Extension and Outreach

Publications

Presentations

  • Bernauer, O.M., Tierney, S. M., Cook, J. M. Pollinator foraging behavior on apple and sweet cherry. Presented at the Illawarra Beekeeping Club; 2019 August 8; Sutherland, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O.M., Tierney, S. M., Cook, J.M. Understanding Apple and cherry pollination. Presented at Sydney Bee Club; 2019 March 25; Bondi Junction, New South Wales, Australia.

  • Bernauer, O.M. Planting for pollinators. Presented at: Maple Bluff Garden Club; 2017 June 6; Maple Bluff, Wisconsin.

  • Bernauer, O.M., et al., Bees and Beekeeping Today. Presenter and Panelist at: The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues at Dickinson College; 2017 March 1; Carlisle, Pennsylvania

  • Bernauer, O.M. How to plant a successful pollinator garden and an introduction to the insects enjoying it. Presented at: South Jersey Beekeepers Association; 2016 October 8; Germania, New Jersey.

  • Bernauer, O.M. How to plant a successful pollinator garden and an introduction to the insects enjoying it. Presented at: District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation; 2016 June 21; Washington, D.C.

  • Bernauer, O. M. How to plant a successful pollinator garden and an introduction to the insects enjoying it. Presented at: Baltimore City Master Gardener Meeting; 2016 Apr 19, Baltimore City, Maryland.

  • Bernauer, O. M., Raupp, M., Shrewbury, P., & vanEngelsdorp, D. Maryland Native Bee Survey: 2015 Results and plans for 2016. Presented at: The First Ever State-Wide MG Pollinator/Natural Enemies Meeting; 2015 Dec 11; Cockeysville, Maryland.

  • Bernauer, O.M. Bees! Presented at: D.C. Beekeepers Alliance; 2015 Nov 18, Washington, D.C. (Invited)

  • Bernauer, O. M. How to get Involved in Research and an Introduction to Native Bees. Presented at: Lake Braddock Secondary School; 2015 Oct 7; Burke, Virginia.

  • Gaines Day, H., Bernauer, O.M., Steffan, S., Do Fungicide Applications Affect Bee Fidelity to Cranberries? Presented at: 2015 Wisconsin Cranberry School; 2015 Jan 21-22; Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

 

SKILLS

- Insect identification

- Plant identification

- Honey bee colony management 

- Experience growing plants in a greenhouse setting

- Data entry and analysis 

- Experimental design

- Python/Unix

- Microsoft office products

- R statistical software

- Database creation and management

- ImageJ

- Adobe products 

- Independent worker

- Self-motivated

- Good time management skills

 

COURSEWORK

- Insect Diversity & Classification

- Insect Ecology

- Insect-Plant Interactions seminar

- Insect Physiology

- Behavioral Ecology

- Biodiversity seminar

- Plant Taxonomy

- Climate change entomology seminar

- Writing: The Myth of the Big Chunk of Time

- Biostatistics I

- Bioethics 

- Agricultural Pest seminar

CONTACT

Beehives

+61 491 369 828

 

HONORS & AWARDS

2021 - USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowship, Madison, WI, $164,999, September 2021 - September 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. 

2019 - Research Grant. Illawarra Amateur Beekeepers Association, Sutherland, NSW. A$2500, June 2019 - present. Foraging behavior 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 behavior, pollination efficiency, phylogenetic diversity, and the natural history of an allodapine bee. 

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

2011 - Vilas Scholarship. University of Wisconsin - Madison, $400, September 2011 - December 2011

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Australian Native Bee Association - Sydney Chapter, Member. 2019 - Present

Ecological Society of Australia, Member 2020 - present

Australian Entomological Society, Member. 2019 - 2020. 

International Union for the Study of Social Insects - Australasian Section, Member. 2018 - 2021.

Entomological Society of America, Member2016-Present

 

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IUSSI Europe 2020 Symposium organization - postponed to a vitrual format in 2021 due to COVID-19

July 2019 - November 2021

Prepared a symposium with UK and Norwegian collaborators titled Understanding Social insect pollination: behavioral and genetic approaches for the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2020 European meeting in Toulouse, France. Invited speakers and expanded network of international contacts.