Jennifer Bernatis


Jenn BernatisJenn Bernatis grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. After high school she moved to Hays, Kansas and received a B.S. in Exercise Science (1994), and an M.S. in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition (1996), both from Fort Hays State University. During the next several years she lived in Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada working in Corporate Wellness and teaching high school Physical Education.

In the summer of 2002, Jenn went back to school part-time to pursue a lifelong interest in marine biology, and began work as a volunteer on corrosion casting of the circulatory system of Dungeness crabs. In the Spring of 2003, Jenn was admitted as a M.S. student at the University of Nevada and started work on the effects of hypoxia during feeding and digestion in Dungeness crabs. This work looked at feeding rates, movement, and other behaviors, in both laboratory settings and in the field (sonar tracking tags). This work was published in Marine Biology in 2007(Click here to read the full document - 490KB .pdf). Several months of research (and fishing) at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, allowed her the opportunity to observe a range of ecosystems, and develop a keen interest in ecophysiology, and tolerances of organisms to a wide range of environmental stressors. Jenn received her M.S. in July 2005. Having been away from Florida for 15 years, Jenn wanted to return to Florida to pursue a Ph.D. in marine invertebrate ecophysiology.

Jenn became a student at UF in August 2005, was awarded an Alumni Fellowship, and began work on a Ph.D. During her first semester, Jenn was introduced to the freshwater invasive channeled apple snails, Pomacea insularum and Pomacea canaliculata. After observing the snails in tanks, seeing the ecological impacts the snails were accused of having on aquatic vegetation, and their apparent ability to tolerate almost any Florida freshwater environment she began a research project focusing on the ecophysiology and impacts of these invasive snails. Jenn also works part time for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and is involved in additional research projects with Pomacea (i.e. eradication methods). She is part of the Freshwater Invertebrate Laboratory in Gainesville, and assists in the collection and identification of freshwater invertebrates from locations throughout the state, her favorite being Lake Okeechobee.