Simon Coppard

Simon Coppard is a marine biologist that specializes in echinoderms, and how they have diverged morphologically, ecologically and genetically through time. His current research includes work on phylogeography and speciation, molecular control of lunar spawning, evolution of defensive structures (pedicellariae) and venom in sea urchins that live in different habitats, and variation in gut microbiomes in sea urchin species at different localities.

For six years Simon was a research fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and led projects looking at cryptic speciation and rates of molecular evolution in sand dollars using fossil calibrated molecular phylogenies. His research also looked at timing of the formation of the Isthmus of Panama (Science Advances) and the closure of the Central American Seaway. During his time in Panama he produced a checklist of all echinoderm species that are recorded in Panama and a website to document their diversity http://echinoderms.lifedesks.org/

Simon recently collaborated with colleagues producing a phylogenomic resolution of the sea urchin tree of life (BMC Evolutionary Biology) and looked at gene expression across tissue, sex and life stages in the sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla (Marine Genomics). He has described a number of new species and genera, including a new species (Coelopleurus exquisitus) discovered on ebay.

Simon has taught Marine Biology, Invertebrate Biology and Molecular Phylogenetics, most recently at Hamilton College NY. He earned his bachelor’s of science (honors) and doctorate in marine biology from the University of London.

For a list of publications see Google Scholar
For teaching evaluations see Rate my Professor

Contact Simon at simon (dot) coppard /at-sign/ ronininstitute {dot} org