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Simon Coppard


Simon Coppard
Simon Coppard

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Taylor Science Center 2033
315-859-4923

Simon Coppard specializes in echinoderms: sea urchins, sea stars and sea cucumbers. He particularly specializes in how species have diverged morphologically, ecologically and genetically through time, and how species maintain their integrity when geographic distributions change and sister-species come into contact. For the past six years he has been a senior research fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Coppard's research there included work on transcriptomics and the evolution and expression of genes responsible for temporal reproductive isolation among species that spawn on different lunar phases. He's conducted fieldwork and taught at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. Coppard earned his bachelor's of science (honors) and doctorate in marine biology from the University of London.

Recent Courses Taught

Marine Biology
Molecular Phylogenetics
Invertebrate Biology

Research Interests

Phylogeography and Speciation
Molecular Ecology
Echinoderm Systematics, including morphological and ecological divergence
Circadian genes and their role in lunar spawning
Evolution of venoms in sea urchin pedicellariae

Distinctions

  • Systematics Association and Linnean Society Research Grant (2017) (PI)
  • American Microscopical Society Grant (2016) (PI)
  • Smithsonian Next Generation Sequencing grant, Co-PI, 2012
  • Smithsonian Marine Science Network fellowship, Co-PI, 2011-14
  • Rubenstein fellowship, Encyclopedia of Life, 2010-11
  • SENACYT (Panama), Co-PI, 2008-10

Select Publications

  • Coppard, S.E. & Lessios, H.A. (2017). Phylogeography of the sand dollar genus Encope: Implications regarding the Central American Isthmus and rates of molecular evolution. Scientific Reports 7, 11520 (OPEN ACCESS: www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-11875-w)
  • A. O’Dea, H. A. Lessios, A. G. Coates, R. I. Eytan, S. A. Restrepo-Moreno, S. E. Coppard et al. (2016). Formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Science Advances. 2, e1600883 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600883 http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/8/e1600883.full
  • Coppard, S.E. (2016).  A new genus of mellitid sand dollar (Echinoidea: Mellitidae) from the eastern Pacific coast of the Americas. Zootaxa 4111 (2): 158-166.
  • Jagadeeshan, S., Coppard S.E., & Lessios, H.A. (2015). "Evolution of gamete attraction molecules: the sperm activating peptide and its receptor are neutrally evolving molecules in the pantropical sea urchin Diadema." Evolution and Development 17(1): 91-108.
  • Coppard, S.E., Zigler, K., & Lessios, H.A. (2013). "Phylogeography of the sand dollar genus Mellita: cryptic speciation along the coasts of the Americas." Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69: 1033-1042.
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  • A. O’Dea, H. A. Lessios, A. G. Coates, S.E. Coppard, et al. (2017). Building bridges. Response to Erkens and Hoorn: “The Panama Isthmus, ‘old’, ‘young’ or both?” Science Advances (http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/8/e1600883/tab-e-letters)
  • Coppard, S.E., Kroh, A. & Smith, A.B. (2012). "The evolution of pedicellariae in echinoids: an arms race against pests and parasites." Acta Zoologica, 93, 125-148.
  • Rodriguez, A., Hernandez, J.C., Clemente, S., &. Coppard, S.E. (2013). "A new species of Diadema (Echinodermata: Echinoidea: Diadematidae) from the eastern Atlantic Ocean and a neotype designation of Diadema antillarum (Philippi, 1845)." Zootaxa 3636(1): 144-170.
  • A. Perez-Ruzafa, J.J. Alvarado, F.A. Solis-Marin, J.C. Hernandez, S.E. Coppard, et al. (2012). "Latin America Echinoderm Biodiversity and Biogeography: Patterns and Affinities." In: Alvarado, Juan J. and SolisMarin, Francisco Alonso, Echinoderm Research and Diversity in Latin America. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 511-542.
  • Coppard, S.E. & Alvarado, J.J. (2012). Echinoderm Diversity in Panama: 144 Years of Research Across the Isthmus. In: Alvarado, Juan J. and Solis-Marin, Francisco Alonso, Echinoderm Research and Diversity in Latin America. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp.l 07-144.
  • Coppard, S.E. (2010). The Echinoderms of Panama. World Wide Web electronic publication.
  • Coppard, S.E., Kroh, A. & Smith, A.B. (2010). "The evolution of pedicellariae in echinoids: an arms race against pests and parasites." Aola Zoologica, 93 , 125-148. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-6395.2010.00487.x (published online, 2010, print version 2012).
  • Mohammed S.W.C., & Coppard, S.E. (2008). "Ecology and distribution of soft sediment benthic communities offViti Levu (Fiji)." Marine Ecological Progress Series, 371, 91-107.
  • Coppard, S.E. (2008). "A comparative analysis of the spatangoid echinoid genera Brissopsis and Metalia: a new genus and species of spatangoid (Echinodermata: Echinoidea: Brissopsidae) from the Philippines and the reassignment of Brissopsis persica to Metalia." Zootaxa, 1760, 1-23.
  • Coppard, S.E. & Van Noordenburg, H. (2007). "A new species of Lissocidaris (Echinodermata: Echinoidea: Cidaridae) from the Philippines: convergent evolution among smooth-spined cidaroids." Zootaxa, 1493, 53-65.
  • Coppard, S.E. & Campbell, A.C. (2007). "Grazing preferences of diadematid echinoids m Fiji." Aquatic Botany, 86, 204-212.
  • Coppard, S.E. & Campbell, A. C. (2006). "Systematic significance of tridentate pedicellariae in the echinoid genera Diadema and Echinothrix." Invertebrate Biology 125(4), 363-378.
  • Coppard, S.E. & Shultz, H.A.G. (2006). "A new species of Coelopleurus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea: Arbaciidae) from New Caledonia." Zootaxa, 1281, 1-19. (Most accessed online paper in Zootaxa August, 2006)
  • Coppard, S.E. & Campbell, A.C. (2006). "Taxonomic significance of test morphology in the echinoid genera Diadema Gray, 1825 and Echinothrix Peters 1853 (Echinodermata)." Zoosystema 28(I), 93-112.
  • Coppard, S.E., Smith, A.B. & Barras, C. (2005). "Stem group Neognathostomata and Cassiduloida." In: Smith, A.B. (editor). The Echinoid Directory. World Wide Web electronic publication.
  • Coppard, S.E. & Campbell, A.C. (2005). "Lunar periodicities of diadematid echinoids breeding in Fiji." Coral Reefs, 24, 224-332.
  • Coppard, S.E. & Campbell, A. C. (2005). "Distribution and abundance of regular echinoids on two coral reefs in Fiji." Micronesica, 37 (2), 249-269.
  • Coppard, S.E. & Campbell, A.C. (2004). "Taxonomic significance of spine morphology in the echinoid genera Diadema and Echinothrix." Invertebrate Biology, 123 (4), 357-371.
  • Coppard, S.E. & Campbell, A. C. (2004). "Associated species of diadematid echinoids in Fiji." Proceeding of the 11th Int ernational Echinoderm conference, 171-179.
  • Coppard, S.E. (2002). "Morphological and ecological differences between species of the genera Diadema and Echinothrix." Ph.D. Thesis, Queen Mary, University of London, 465 pp.
  • Campbell, A. C., Coppard, S.E., D' Abreo, C. & Tudor-Thomas, R. (2001). "Escape and aggregation responses of three echinoderms to conspecific stimuli." Biological Bulletin, 201: 175-185.

College Service

Outreach activities involving elementary, middle and high school students and exposing them to the wonders of invertebrates and marine life

Appointed to the Faculty: 2015

Educational Background

Postdoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
Ph.D., University of London
B.Sc., University of London

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