Idelle Cooper image


Associate 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
  • Hembry DH, Bennett G, Bess E, Cooper I, Jordan S, Liebherr J, Magnacca KN, Percy DM, Polhemus DA, Rubinoff D, et al. 2021. Insect radiations on islands: Biogeographic pattern and evolutionary process in Hawaiian insects. Q Rev Biol. 96(4):247–296. doi:10.1086/717787.
  • Cook P,* Rasmussen R, Brown JM, Cooper IA. 2018. Sexual conflict does not maintain female colour polymorphism in a territorial damselfly. Anim Behav. 140:171–176. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.04.020.
  • Cooper IA, Brown JM, Getty T. 2016. A role for ecology in the evolution of colour variation and sexual dimorphism in Hawaiian damselflies. J Evol Biol. 29(2):418–427. doi:10.1111/jeb.12796. 
*indicates student co-author

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