Dr Chris Cooney

Email: c.cooney@sheffield.ac.ukChrisCooney

Personal website: www.christophercooney.co.uk


I completed my BSc in Biology at the University of York before joining the Edward Grey Institute of Ornithology at Oxford as a DPhil student working under the supervision of Nathalie Seddon and Joe Tobias. In August 2014 I moved to the University of Sheffield as a postdoctoral researcher working in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences with Gavin Thomas. In May 2019, I will become a Leverhulme Early Career Research fellow.

Research activities

The natural world consists of a vast array of forms and the overall aim of my research is to understand the processes responsible for the production of biological diversity. During my PhD I investigated the causes of evolutionary radiations in birds across broad phylogenetic and spatial scales, with a particular focus on the role of sexual selection in speciation and species coexistence. During my postdoc, I am extending this work by directly examining the interplay between phenotypic evolution, species diversification and the build of sympatric diversity, with specific emphasis on the potentially dissimilar roles played by ecological and sexual traits.


Google Scholar      ResearchGate

Cooney CR, MacGregor HEA, Seddon N and Tobias JA (2018) Multimodal signal evolution in birds: re-examining a standard proxy for sexual selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285:20181557

Chira AM, Cooney CR, Bright JA, Capp EJR, Hughes EC, Moody CJA, Nouri LO, Varley ZK and Thomas GH (2018) Correlates of rate heterogeneity in avian ecomorphological traits. Ecology Letters 21:1505-1515

Afanasyeva A, Bockwoldt M, Cooney CR, Heiland I and Gossmann TI (2018) Human long intrinsically disordered protein regions are frequent targets of positive selection. Genome Research 28:975-982

Wright AE, Fumagalli M, Cooney CR, Bloch NI, Vieira FG, Buechel SD, Kolm N and Mank JE (2018) Male-biased gene expression resolves sexual conflict through the evolution of sex-specific genetic architecture. Evolution letters 2:52-61

Thomas GH, Cooney CR and Bright JA (2017) Crowd-sourcing bird evolution. Cell Systems 4:252

Cooney CR, Tobias JA, Weir JT, Botero CA and Seddon N (2017) Sexual selection, speciation, and constraints on geographical range overlap in birds. Ecology Letters 20:863-871

Cooney CR*, Bright JA*, Capp EJR, Chira AM, Hughes EC, Moody CJA, Nouri LO, Varley ZK and Thomas GH (2017) Mega-evolutionary dynamics of the adaptive radiation of birds. Nature 542: 344-347 (*Joint first authors)

Cooney CR, Seddon N and Tobias JA (2016) Widespread correlations between climatic niche evolution and species diversification in birds. Journal of Animal Ecology 85:869-878

Brulez K, Mikšík I, Cooney CR, Hauber ME, Lovell PG, Maurer G, Portugal SJ, Russell D, Reynolds SJ and Cassey P (2016) Eggshell pigment composition covaries with phylogeny but not with life history or with nesting ecology traits of British passerines. Ecology and Evolution 6:1637-1645

Horváthová T*, Cooney CR*, Fitze PS, Oksanen TA, Jelić D, Ghira I, Uller T and Jandzik D (2013) Length of activity season drives geographic variation in body size of a widely distributed lizard. Ecology and Evolution 3:2424-2442 (*Joint first authors)

Salisbury CL, Seddon N, Cooney CR and Tobias JA (2012) The latitudinal gradient in dispersal constraints: ecological specialisation drives diversification in tropical birds. Ecology Letters 15:847-855