I am interested in the intersection between evolution

and ecology in order to understand phenotypic variation. What  selection pressures lead to variation between sexes and between species, and what maintains that variation? To study this, I investigate selection pressure through the social environment (mate choice and species recognition) and selection via the ecological environment (viability). 

    My 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 behavior, and are sensitive to habitat alteration.

    Ultimately, I aim to contribute a better understanding of the roles of ecological and sexual selection in shaping variation, speciation, and evolutionary reponses to climate change.


 

Evolution of variation

Idelle Cooper