Neil Bernstein

Professor of Biology
Chair, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences

145 Basile Hall
319-363-1323 ext. 1270
nbernstein@mtmercy.edu

B.S.  Colorado State University
M.S.  John Carroll University
Ph.D. University of Minnesota

Teaching Areas
  • General Botany
  • Biology and Human Culture
  • Global Environmental Issues
  • Iowa Natural History
  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Animal Behavior
  • Earth Science
  • Biology and Scientific Inquiry III
  • Biostatistics

 

Neil Bernstein's long time interests include ornithology, conservation, environmental issues and animal behavior. He has studied Antarctic seabirds and, currently, box turtle ecology. He served as president of the Iowa Academy of Science (IAS) and editor of The Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science. Dr. Bernstein's awards include: Distinguished Iowa Science Teaching (IAS-1996), Jack-in-the Pulpit Award (Indian Creek Nature Center-1993), Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership (1991), Mount Mercy College Outstanding Service Award (2003), and the Goellner Award for service to the Cedar Rapids Audubon Society. He also served or has been an officer on a variety of community boards, and he chaired the Iowa State Preserves Advisory Board.

Past research involved ecology and behavior of Antarctic seabirds, and his current research is a collaborative effort between students and scientists at Cornell College to radio track Ornate Box Turtles. Data are being collected on habitat usage and movements to learn better how to protect this state-threatened species. He is also conducting research on the state-endangered yellow mud turtle at Big Sand Mound near Muscatine (see below).This research also involves ornate box turtles, lizards, snakes, and rare small mammals. 

Students are also involved with research projects in sand prairie ecology and land management for a private hill prairie.

From 2005 - 2012, he mentored 8 student internships and 5 student paper presentations at scientific meetings. During that time, he presented 6 papers on his research at scientific meetings and published 6 papers in scientific journals. Most of the papers included student authors. Internships include placements with brain imaging medical psychologists, physical therapists and sport trainers, physicians, and environmental organization.

Along with his Mount Mercy University classes, he has taught Field Ornithology, Ecology, Fish Ecology and Animal Behavior at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory since 1986.

He organized a symposium that coordinated and synthesized knowledge of the impact of introduced and invasive species on natural areas in Iowa, in which he presented a paper, introduced and invasive fishes in Iowa. He was co-editor of The Proceedings of the 17th North American Prairie Conference.

He also organized cooperated with several researchers to investigate mitigated wetlands for the EPA and Iowa Department of Transportation. 

Read about Bernstein's research at
Big Sand Mound. 
Read about Bernstein's work with
Ornate Box Turtles

Read about Bernstein's teaching. 

Read about Berstein's work with endangered
yellow mud turtle populations at
Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve
 

  

Publications

Martin, B. T., N. P. Bernstein, R. D. Birkhead, J. F. Koukl, S. M. Mussmann, and J. S. Placyk, Jr. 2014. On the reclassification of the Terrapene (Testudines: Emydidae): a response to Fritz & Havas. Zootaxa 3835:292-294. pdf

Martin, B. T., N. P. Bernstein, R. D. Birkhead, J. F. Koukl, S. M. Mussmann, and J. S. Placyk, Jr. 2012.  Sequence-based molecular phylogenetics and phylogeography of the American box turtles (Terrapene spp.) with support from DNA barcoding. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 68:119-134. pdf

Christiansen, J.L, N.P. Bernstein, C.A. Phillips, J.T. Briggler, and D. Kangas. 2012. Declining yellow mud turtles (Kinosternon flavescens) in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. Southwestern Naturalist 57: 304-313. pdf

Bernstein, N. P., and J. L. Christiansen. 2011. Response of a yellow mud turtle (Kinosternon flavescens Aggasiz) community to habitat change: management implications for a nature preserve. Natural Areas Journal 31:414-419. pdf

Richtsmeier, R. J., N. P. Bernstein, J. W. Demastes, and R. W. Black  |  2008
Migration, gene Flow, and genetic diversity within and among Iowa populations of ornate box turtles (Terrapene ornata ornata). Chelonian Conservation and Biology. 8:3-11. pdf

Bernstein, N.P., R. W. Black, B.J. Richtsmeier, and B.R. Montgomery  |  2007
Home range and philopatry in the ornate box turtle, Terrapene ornata ornata, in Iowa. American Midland Naturalist 157:162-174. pdf

Whitters, A. D., H. J. Carson, S. G. Eilers, and N. P. Bernstein  |  2007
Immunoperoxidase in the interpretation of discordant histologic and urease findings for Heliobacter pylori. Applied Journal of Immunohistochemistry and Morphology. 15: 199-202. pdf

Bernstein, N.P. and R. W. Black  |  2005
Thermal Environment of Overwintering Ornate Box Turtles, Terrapene ornata ornata, in Iowa. American Midland Naturalist 153: 370-377. pdf

Bernstein, N. P.  |  2003
A Peek at Preserves. Iowa Conservationist July/August:44-45.

Bernstein, N. P.  |  2002
Book review of Prairie Birds. Fragile Splendor in the Great Plains. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 109:41-42.

Bernstein, N. P.  |  2002
Book review of North American Box Turtles: A Natural History. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 109:41.

Bernstein, N. P. and L. J. Ostrander, editors  |  2000
Proceedings of the 17th North American Prairie Conference. Seeds for the Future; Roots of the Past. Northeast Iowa Community College. Mason City. 241 pp.

Bernstein, N. P. and J. R. Olson  |  2001
Ecological Problems with Iowa's Invasive And Introduced Fishes. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 108:185-209. pdf

Dinsmore, J. J. and N. P. Bernstein  |  2001
Invasive Species in Iowa: An Introduction. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 108:105-106.

Kaiser, H., G. S. Casper, and N. P. Bernstein, eds.  |  2000
Investigating amphibian declines: Proceedings of the 1998 declining amphibians conference. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 107: 57-216.

Bernstein, N. P.  |  2000
The problem of invasive plants in Iowa. Iowa Horticulturalist 17: 12-13.

Bernstein, N. P., M. Getting, T. Kamp, S. Christian, R. Smith, J. Steele, and S. Steele  |  2000
The status of the blacknose shiner (Notropis heterolepis) in Iowa. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 107:16-20. pdf

Bernstein, N. P.  |  1998
Iowa's declining flora and fauna: a review of changes since 1980 and an outlook for the future. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 105: 133-140. pdf

Bernstein, N. P.  |  1998
Book review: Birds in Iowa. Prairie Naturalist 30:1-2.

Bernstein, N. P.  |  1997
Book review of The Iowa Breeding Bird Atlas. Iowa Bird Life 67: 103-104.

Bernstein, N. P.  |  1996
Book review of This Fragile Land. A Natural History of the Nebraska Sandhills. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 103:84-85.

Bernstein, N. P., Assoc. Editor  |  1992
History of Iowa Natural History - A Symposium.. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science. 99:69-97.

Lannoo, M. J. and N. P. Bernstein  |  1991
Pheasant in a shorebird body. Iowa Conservationist 50:30-31.

Bernstein, N. P., K. K. Baker, and S. R. Wilmot  |  1990
Changes in a prairie bird community from 1940 to 1989. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science 97:115-120. pdf

Bernstein, N. P. and S. J. Maxson  |  1985
Reproductive energetics of Blue-eyed Shags in Antarctica. Wilson Bulletin. 97:450-462. pdf

Maxson, S. J. and N. P. Bernstein  |  1984
Breeding season time budgets of the Southern Black-backed Gull in Antarctica. Condor 86:401-409. pdf

Bernstein, N. P. and S. J. Maxson  |  1984
Sexually distinct daily activity patterns of Blue-eyed Shags in Antarctica. Condor 86:151-156. pdf

Bernstein, N. P  |  1983
Influence of pack ice on movements and foraging of wintering Southern Back-backed Gulls (Larus dominicanus) in Antarctica. Notornis 30:1-6. pdf

Bernstein, N. P. and S. J. Maxson  | 1982
Behaviours of the Antarctic Blue-eyed Shag, Phalacrocorax atriceps bransfieldensis. Notornis 29:197-207. pdf 

Bernstein, N. P. and S. J. Maxson  |  1982
Lack of wing-drying behavior in the Antarctic Blue-eyed Shag. (Phalacrocorax atriceps bransfieldensis). Auk 99:588-589. pdf

Maxson, S. J. and N. P. Bernstein  |  1982
Kleptoparasitism by South Polar Skuas on Blue-eyed Shags in Antarctica. Wilson Bulletin 94:269-281. pdf

Volkman, N. J., W. Z. Trivelpiece, N. P. Bernstein, and P. C. Tirrell  |  1982
Macaroni penguins: Comment on mistaken King George Island breeding record and southerly range extension. Auk 99:386. pdf

Bernstein, N. P. and P. C. Tirrell  |  1981
New southerly record for the Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) on the Antarctic Peninsula. Auk 98:398. pdf

Bernstein, N. P.  |  1981
Vegetational history of Mentor March. Ohio Journal of Science 81:105-108. pdf

Bernstein, N. P. and S. J. Maxson  |  1981
Notes on moult and seasonably variable characters of the Antarctic Blue-eyed Shag, Phalacrocorax atriceps bransfieldensis. Notornis 28:35-39. pdf

Maxson, S. J. and N. P. Bernstein  |  1980
Ecological studies of Southern Black-backed Gulls, Blue-eyed Shags, and Adelie Penguins at Palmer Station. Antarctic Journal of U.S. 15:157.

Bernstein, N. P. and E. B. McLean  |  1980
Nesting of red-winged blackbirds in cattails and common reed grass in Mentor marsh. Ohio Journal of Science 80:14-19. pdf

Parmelee, D. F., S. J. Maxson, and N. P. Bernstein  |  1979
Fowl cholera outbreak among Brown Skuas at Palmer Station. Antarctic Journal of U.S. 14:168-169.

Parmelee, D. F., N. Bernstein, and D. R. Neilson  |  1978
Impact of unfavorable ice conditions on bird productivity at PalmerStation during the 1977-1978 field season. Antarctic Journal of U.S. 13:146-147.