Dr Chris Cooney
School of Biosciences
NERC Independent Research Fellow
+44 114 222 0079
Full contact details
School of Biosciences
Alfred Denny Building
- NERC Independent Research Fellow, University of Sheffield (2021-present)
- Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Sheffield (2019-2020)
- Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Sheffield (2014-2019)
- DPhil Zoology, University of Oxford (2010-2014)
- BSc Biology, University of York (2007-2010)
- Research interests
Our research seeks to understand the processes structuring large-scale patterns of biodiversity. As a lab we specialise in the use and development of phylogenetic comparative methods and large datasets to address fundamental questions about the forces shaping Earth’s biodiversity and the factors responsible for maintaining it.
We work on a broad range of macro-scale ecological and evolutionary questions, often using birds as a model system. In particular, we are interested in understanding the interaction between sexual selection and ecology in driving evolutionary dynamics within birds and across the Tree of Life.
Our key research themes include:
• The evolution of sexual signalling traits
• Sexual dimorphism, sexual selection and speciation
• The drivers of speciation rate variation
• Geographic and taxonomic diversity gradients
• The causes and consequences of species co-existence
- Sociality, ecology and developmental constraints predict variation in brain size across birds. Journal of Evolutionary Biology.
- Reply to: Existing methods are effective at measuring natural selection on gene expression.. Nat Ecol Evol.
- Global biogeographic patterns of avian morphological diversity. Ecology Letters, 25(3), 598-610.
- AVONET: morphological, ecological and geographical data for all birds. Ecology Letters, 25(3), 581-597.
- Constraint and divergence in the evolution of male and female recombination rates in fishes. Evolution. View this article in WRRO
- The signature of competition in ecomorphological traits across the avian radiation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1938), 20201585-20201585.
- The signature of competition in ecomorphological traits across the avian radiation: Competition and trait macroevolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1938).
- Heterogeneous relationships between rates of speciation and body size evolution across vertebrate clades. Nature Ecology & Evolution.
- Ecology and allometry predict the evolution of avian developmental durations. Nature Communications, 11. View this article in WRRO
- Noncoding regions underpin avian bill shape diversification at macroevolutionary scales. Genome Research, 30(4), 553-565. View this article in WRRO
- The consequences of craniofacial integration for the adaptive radiations of Darwin’s finches and Hawaiian honeycreepers. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 4(2), 270-278. View this article in WRRO
- Adaptive radiation and the evolution of nectarivory in a large songbird clade. Evolution, 73(6), 1226-1240. View this article in WRRO
- Phenotypic sexual dimorphism is associated with genomic signatures of resolved sexual conflict. Molecular Ecology. View this article in WRRO
- Sexual selection predicts the rate and direction of colour divergence in a large avian radiation. Nature Communications, 10. View this article in WRRO
- Multi-modal signal evolution in birds: re-examining a standard proxy for sexual selection. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 285(1889). View this article in WRRO
- Correlates of rate heterogeneity in avian ecomorphological traits. Ecology Letters, 21(10), 1505-1514. View this article in WRRO
- Human long intrinsically disordered protein regions are frequent targets of positive selection. Genome research. View this article in WRRO
- Male-biased gene expression resolves sexual conflict through the evolution of sex-specific genetic architecture. Evolution Letters, 2(2), 52-61. View this article in WRRO
- Sexual selection, speciation and constraints on geographical range overlap in birds. Ecology Letters. View this article in WRRO
- Mega-evolutionary dynamics of the adaptive radiation of birds. Nature, 542, 344-347. View this article in WRRO
- Widespread correlations between climatic niche evolution and species diversification in birds. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85(4), 869-878. View this article in WRRO
- Eggshell pigment composition covaries with phylogeny but not with life history or with nesting ecology traits of British passerines. Ecology and Evolution, 6(6), 1637-1645. View this article in WRRO
- The effects of ecology and behavior on the evolution of coloration in Coraciiformes. Behavioral Ecology.
- Deep learning image segmentation reveals patterns of UV reflectance evolution in passerine birds. Nature Communications.
- Latitudinal gradients in avian colourfulness. Nature Ecology & Evolution.
- Detecting signatures of selection on gene expression. Nature Ecology and Evolution.
- Allometric conservatism in the evolution of bird beaks. Evolution Letters.
- Evolutionary dynamics of pigmentary grey and non- iridescent structural blue colouration in Tanagers (family: Thraupidae), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
- Innovation and elaboration on the avian tree of life, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
- Segmenting biological specimens from photos to understand the evolution of UV plumage in passerine birds, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. View this article in WRRO
- Noncoding regions underpin avian bill shape diversification at macroevolutionary scales, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
- Ecology, phylogeny, and the evolution of developmental duration in birds, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
- Sex-Biased Gene Expression Resolves Sexual Conflict through the Evolution of Sex-Specific Genetic Architecture, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
- Research group
• Frane Babrovic (PhD student, PI: Gavin Thomas)
• Jasmine Hardie (PhD student)
• Aislinn Mckernon (MRes student)
ACCE DTP Studentship – Understanding the links between animal sexual traits and environmental change. Closing date January 13, 2023. Link: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/acce-dtp-studentship-understanding-the-links-between-animal-sexual-traits-and-environmental-change/?p148835
- Professional activities and memberships
- Associate Editor at Ecology and Evolution
- ESEB Special Topic Network 'Integration of Speciation Research' Co-chair