Connor Bernard

Research Interests

I am a doctoral student in the Salguero-Gómez (SalGo) lab in the Department of Zoology. My research interests focus on bridging evolutionary environmental physiology with demography. My active areas of research are more narrowly tailored to how stress physiology shapes life history in long-lived species. I use a combination of field, theoretical, and computational approaches to look at questions at the interface of environmental stress, physiology, and demography.

My research background is based in alpine plant community ecology, and I continue to work on global change ecology in alpine ecosystems. My academic background is oriented toward zoology and environmental physiology. I earned my B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016, where I studied zoology and natural resource policy. During my undergraduate years, I was an NSF REU student and developed research projects at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (Sanders Lab, University of Vermont), the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (Suding Lab, University of Colorado), and the Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research Site (Suding Lab, University of Colorado). I also worked in the Beissinger Lab (UC Berkeley) in Northern California, surveying rare wetland birds as part of a long-term metapopulation dynamics research project.

After graduating in 2016, I worked for the United States Bureau of Land Management as a planning and policy associate. I worked for the agency in New Mexico and in Washington D.C. In 2018, I joined a private firm, where I continued to work on environmental analysis and legal compliance topics for a number of federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Forest Service, and National Park Service. I was chief protest resolution analyst on the federal land use plan sage-grouse amendments and served as deputy project manager on several of the Department of the Interior’s national priorities, working on projects in 11 western states.

I joined the Department of Zoology at Oxford in 2019. My DPhil/PhD work builds on my long-standing interest in comparative research, disciplined by the development of theoretical models for variation in life history strategies.

I also work on field and comparative tests of the empirical consistency of classical models for senescence (e.g. here). One component of my graduate studies uses bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata) as a model for comparative analysis of competing theories for variation in senescence. Other aspects of my work tap into metabolomics. I collaborate with a wide range of researchers and am always keen to talk ecology and evolution. If you’re visiting Oxford or want to get in touch, please reach me at

In addition to my doctoral research pursuits, I am interested in environmental law and the science-policy interface. I always appreciate the opportunity to meet with law faculty, policy academics, and agency staff/policy makers. Please drop me an email if you are interested in talking.

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