South Australian Museum Staff
- Principal Researcher
- Evolutionary Biology Unit
Steve Cooper's research focuses on investigating the systematics, origins and evolution of Australian fauna (mainly invertebrates) using molecular phylogenetic and phylogeographic approaches. Steve, his students and postdocs have worked on a wide range of organisms including marsupials, subterranean crustaceans and beetles, grasshoppers, bees, thrips, wasps and spiders. The aim of much of his research is to advance our understanding of the forces that have driven speciation of animals in the arid zone and southern Australia, but he also has a strong interest in the application of molecular genetic techniques (eg. microsatellite DNA) in the fields of ecology and conservation biology.
Highlights of his research include an ongoing study of an extraordinary new ecosystem of subterranean animals (beetles, crustaceans etc) in isolated calcrete aquifers of central WA in collaboration with Bill Humphreys from the WA Museum. He also has a long-term collaboration with Mike Schwarz (Flinders University) in a project investigating the biogeographic history and social evolution of Australian bees. In addition, Steve has a strong background in the field of molecular evolution, with research on the molecular evolution of globin genes in mammals and regressive evolution of eyes in subterranean animals.
Steve Cooper is an affiliated Senior Lecturer (Level C) at the University of Adelaide and a member of the Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity. He was an Alexander von Humboldt research fellow in 2003. He currently sits on the editorial advisory board for the Australian Journal of Zoology and is treasurer of the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists.
Major Publications: (Top 5)
Cooper, S.J.B. & Hope, R.M. (1993) Evolution and expression of a b-like globin
gene of the Australian marsupial Sminthopsis crassicaudata. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.
USA 90: 11777-11781.
Cooper, S.J.B., Ibrahim, K.M. & Hewitt, G.M. (1995) Post-glacial expansion and
subdivision of the grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus in Europe. Molecular Ecology
Wheeler, D., Hope, R.M., Cooper, S.J.B., Dolman, G., Webb, G., Bottema, C.D.K.,
Gooley, A.A., Goodman, M., and Holland, R.A.B. (2001) An orphaned mammalian
b-globin gene of ancient evolutionary origin. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98: 1101-
Leys R., Watts C.H.S., Cooper S.J.B. & Humphreys W.F. (2003) Evolution of
subterranean diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae: Hydroporini, Bidessini) in the
arid zone of Australia. Evolution 57: 2819-2834.
Schwarz M.P., Fuller S., Tierney S.M. & Cooper S.J.B. (2006) Molecular
phylogenetics of the exoneurine allodapine bees reveal an ancient and puzzling
dispersal from Africa to Australia. Systematic Biology 55: 31-45.