Texas A&M University Department of Biology
  • B.A., 1986, University of Pennsylvania: Biology (simultaneous with M.A.).
  • M.A., 1986, University of Pennsylvania: Biology (Program in Ecology & Evolution).
  • Ph.D., 1991, Duke University: Zoology, minor Mathematics.
  • Postdoc: University of Texas, Austin.

Joined the Department in 2011

Researcher ID

Dr. Joseph Bernardo

Joseph Bernardo
Associate Professor

3258 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-3258

Butler 307A

Butler 307

Fax: 979-845-2891
Email: jbernardo@tamu.edu


I am an Integrative Evolutionary Ecologist, meaning that my research addresses a range of fundamental questions in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from a multi-disciplinary, integrative perspective and using a diverse array of tools including field experiments, phylogenetically-rooted comparative statistical analyses, quantitative estimates of physiological performance, experimental analyses of reproductive behavior, and molecular genetics.  I often work at the nexus of typically disparate fields of study, for example combining genetic, phylogenetic, physiological and macroecological perspectives in a single analysis of distribution and dispersal (Bernardo et al. 2007).  Because multiple causality is inherent in understanding ecological and evolutionary problems, my research emphasizes a strong inference approach that therefore relies on both large datasets and multivariate statistical models to evaluate competing hypotheses.  Most of my active work involves vertebrates and insects and other major invertebrate groups.
General areas of interest include: • determinants of range size and position • biodiversity conservation in the face of climate change • detection, and ecological and conservation implications of cryptic speciation and diversity • vertebrate ecology and life history • biology of amphibians and reptiles, especially salamanders and lizards • speciation and evolution of reproductive isolation • evolutionary ecology of body size including its role in species packing and community assembly • clinal variation in life history and physiological traits • comparative animal physiology and physiological ecology especially as they relate to life history variation and range occupation (macrophysiology) • life history evolution • evolution and implications of maternal effects, especially propagule size • experimental ecology

Current active projects include:

  1. Analysis of the tempo and mode of speciation in salamanders in which the relative and interactive contributions of ecological, behavioral, physiological and life historical factors are considered simultaneously;
  2. Development of an operational, species traits-based approach to analyzing organismal vulnerability to climate change and its application to a wide range of organisms including salamanders, marine turtles, and the ensemble of species used as food organisms by Inupiaq people of Alaska;
  3. Large-scale comparative macrophysiological analyses of mammals and amphibians;
  4. Landscape patterns and evolutionary basis of community assembly in salamanders;
More detailed descriptions of these and other research areas, related publications and opportunities for undergraduate and graduate student projects, as well as PDF files of all my publications are on the laboratory website.
  1. Bernardo, J. Biologically grounded predictions of species resistance and resilience to climate changePNAS 2014 111 (15 ) 5450 - 5451;
  2. Agosta, S. J., J. Bernardo, M. A. Steele, & G. Ceballos. 2013. A macrophysiological analysis of energetic constraints on geographic range size in mammals. PLOS ONE, 8(9):e72731; (DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0072731 link).
  3. Stephen G. Tilley, Joseph Bernardo, Laura A. Katz, Lizmarie López, J. Devon Roll, Renée L. Eriksen, Justin Kratovil, Noëlle K. J. Bittner, Keith A. Crandall Failed species, innominate forms, and the vain search for species limits: cryptic diversity in dusky salamanders (Desmognathus) of eastern Tennessee Article first published online: 27 JUN 2013 DOI: 10.1002/ece3.636
  4. Agosta SJ, Bernardo J (2013) New macroecological insights into functional constraints on mammalian geographical range size. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280:20130140
  5. Bernardo, J. 2011. A critical appraisal of the meaning and diagnosability of cryptic evolutionary diversity, and its implications for conservation in the face of climate change. Pp. 380-438 In Climate Change, Ecology and Systematics. Systematics Association Special Series (T. Hodkinson, M. Jones, S. Waldren & J. Parnell, eds). Cambridge University Press. (ISBN: 9780521766098; link )
  6. Gaston, K. J., Chown, S.L., Calosi P., Bernardo J., Bilton, D. T., Clarke A., Clusella-Trullas S., Ghalambor, C. K., Konarzewski, M., Peck, L. S., Porter, W. P., Pörtner, H. O., Rezende, E. L., Schulte, P. M., Spicer, J. I., Stillman, J. H., Terblanche, J. S., van Kleunen, M.  2009.  Macrophysiology: A conceptual reunification.  American Naturalist 174:595-612. (DOI: 10.1086/605982).
  7. Bernardo, J., R. Ossola, J. Spotila, & K. A. Crandall.  2007.  Validation of interspecific physiological variation as a tool for assessing global warming-induced endangerment.  Biology Letters 3:695-698. (DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2007.0259).
  8. Bernardo, J. & P. T. Plotkin. 2007.  An evolutionary perspective on the Arribada phenomenon and reproductive behavioral polymorphism of olive ridley sea turtles, (Lepidochelys olivacea).  Pp.59-87 in Biology and Conservation of Ridley Turtles (P. T. Plotkin ed.) Johns Hopkins University Press.
  9. Bernardo, J. & J. Spotila.  2006. Physiological constraints on organismal response to global warming; mechanistic insights from clinally varying populations and implications for assessing endangerment Biology Letters 2:135-139.  (DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2005.0417).
  10. Bernardo, J. & S. J. Agosta. 2005.  Evolutionary implications of hierarchical impacts of nonlethal injury on reproduction, including maternal effects.   Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society 86:309-331.

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