Idelle Cooper


Assistant Professor
Year Started at JMU: 2013
Contact Info

Research Description

What selection pressures lead to variation between sexes and between species, and what maintains that variation? To study this, my lab investigates selection pressure through the social environment (mate choice and species recognition) and the ecological environment (viability). Our current research focuses on the evolution of color and shape variation of species in two damselfly genera, Megalagrion (an endemic Hawaiian radiation) and Calopteryx (of the mainland US and Canada). These systems contain extensive phenotypic color variation geographically and between species and sexes, have interesting courtship behaviors, and are sensitive to habitat alteration. Ultimately, we aim help understand the roles of ecological and sexual selection in shaping variation, speciation, and evolutionary responses to climate change.

  • Evolutionary Analysis (BIO 404)
  • Insect Ecology (BIO 427)

 Office Hours

  • PhD in Evolution/Ecology/Behavior, 2008, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • BA in Biology, 2001, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA
Select Publications
  • Cooper, I.A., J.M. Brown, and T. Getty. In review. Ecological selection drives sexual dimorphism and species variation in Hawaiian damselflies.
  • Conner, J.K., I.A. Cooper, R. La Rosa, S. Perez, and A. Royer. 2013. Patterns and causes of phenotypic correlations among morphological traits across plants and animals. In press at Philosphical Transactions B.
  • Cooper, I.A., Gilman, R.T., and J.W. Boughman. 2011. Sexual dimorphism and speciation on two ecological coins: patterns from nature and theoretical predictions. Evolution 65(9):2553-2571.

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