Joe Cooper

Research Ecologist

Joe is a Research Ecologist principally working on how birds respond to environmental change. 

Interests & Responsibilities

As part of the Terrestrial Ecology team, Joe is responsible for converting BTO citizen data into informative scientific outputs. This includes large collaborative projects such as looking at predicting the impact of Brexit on Welsh bird populations and exploring the relationship between urban design and ecology.

Joe’s main research interests focus on using innovative data sources to improve our understanding of avian ecology, behaviour, and evolution. He has a strong background in bioacoustics methods and analysis, having worked in this area at the University of Sussex and through a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London.  This included examining how young songbirds learn to sing, the relationship between ecology and female singing, and remote biodiversity monitoring through soundscape.


PhD On the evolution of vocal development in island chaffinch populations, QMUL, 2015 - 2020
BSc Hons Ecology & Conservation, University of Sussex, 2010 - 2013

Recent BTO Publications

Cooper, J.E.J., Plummer, K.E., Middlebrook, I. & Siriwardena, G.M. 2024. Using butterfly survey data to model habitat associations in urban developments. Journal of Applied Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.14583)
Cooper, J.E.J., Plummer, K.E. & Siriwardena, G.M. 2023. Using species-habitat models to predict bird counts from urban development plans. Landscape and Urban Planning 230 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2022.104629)
Cooper, J.E.J., Garcia-del-Rey, E. & Lachlan, R.F. 2023. Evolution of female song and duetting in the Chaffinch (Fringilla) species complex. Journal of Avian Biology View at journal website (DOI:

Other Publications

Hulme‐Beaman, A., Rudzinski, A., Cooper, J. E., Lachlan, R. F., Dobney, K., & Thomas, M. G. GeoOrigins: A new method and R package for trait mapping and geographic provenancing of specimens without categorical constraints. Methods in Ecology and Evolution.  

Lifjeld, J. T., Anmarkrud, J. A., Calabuig, P., Cooper, J. E., Johannessen, L. E., Johnsen, A., ... & Stensrud, E. (2016). Species-level divergences in multiple functional traits between the two-endemic subspecies of Blue Chaffinches Fringilla teydea in the Canary Islands. BMC Zoology1(1), 4.

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