Jennifer Koop

Assistant professor

Research Interests

Invasive species pose a major threat to global biodiversity.  Aside from direct effects on ecosystems, such as competition with native species, invasive species can be or introduce invasive parasites and pathogens. Transmission of parasites to novel hosts can lead to epidemics that devastate local host populations. Despite a major effort by researchers, our understanding of the parameters that enable successful parasite invasions is still relatively limited. Broadly, my research uses a multidisciplinary approach of evolutionary biology, invasion biology, and conservation biology to investigate the evolutionary ecology of invasive parasites. 


Recent projects in my lab include 1) Describing the invasion pathway of a parasitic nest fly affecting Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos Islands and 2) Understanding the ecological parameters that facilitated the invasion of a freshwater snail and its trematode parasites in the Upper Mississippi River Region.

Representative Publications

Bachtel, Rebecca Z., Rittenhouse, M., Sandland, Gregory J., and Jennifer A.H. Koop. (2018) Infection patterns of trematodes across size classes of an invasive snail species using field and laboratory studies. Parasitology 

Villa, Scott M., Koop, Jennifer A.H., LeBohec, Celine, DiBlasi, Emily, and Dale H. Clayton. (2018) Beak of the pinch: anti-parasite traits are similar among Darwin’s finch species. Evolutionary Ecology 32:443-452.

 McNew, Sabrina M., Beck, Daniel, Sadler-Riggleman, Ingrid, Knutie, Sarah A., Koop, Jennifer A.H., Clayton, Dale H., and Michael K. Skinner. (2017) Epigenetic variation between urban and rural populations of Darwin’s finches. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17:183.

Yule, Kelsey, Koop, Jennifer A.H., Alexandre, Nicolas, Johnston, Lauren, Whiteman, Noah K. (2016) Population structure of a vector-borne plant parasite. Molecular Ecology 25:3332-3343. 

Knutie, Sarah A., Owen, Jeb P., McNew, Sabrina M., Barlow, Andrew W., Arriero, Elena, Herman, Jordan M., DiBlasi, Emily, Thompson, Michael, Koop, Jennifer A.H., Clayton, Dale H. (2016) Galapagos mockingbirds tolerate introduced parasites that affect Darwin’s finches.  Ecology 97:940-950. 

Koop, Jennifer A.H., Kim, Peter A., Knutie, Sarah A., Adler, Fred, Clayton, Dale H. (2015) Introduced parasitic fly may lead to local extinction of Darwin’s finch populations. Journal of Applied Ecology doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12575

Koop, Jennifer A.H., DeMatteo, Karen E., Parker, Patricia G., Whiteman, Noah K. (2014) Birds are islands for parasites. Biology Letters doi:10.1098/rsbl.2014.0255

Skinner, Michael K., Guerrero-Bosagna, Carlos, Haque, Md. M., Koop, Jennifer A.H., Knutie, Sarah A., Clayton, Dale H. (2014) Epigenetics and the evolution of Darwin's finches. Genome Biology and Evolution 6:1972-1989. (with cover) 

Koop, Jennifer A.H., Le Bohec, Celine, and Dale H. Clayton. (2013) Dry year does not reduce prevalence or abundance of Philornis downsi (Diptera  Muscidae) in Darwin’s finch nests. Reports in Parasitology 3:11-17.

Knutie, Sarah A.* & Koop, Jennifer A. H.*, French, Susannah S., and Dale H. Clayton. (2013) Experimental test of the effect of introduced hematophagous flies on the corticosterone levels of breeding female Darwin’s finches. General and Comparative Endocrinology 193:68-71. *Authors contributed equally to this work. 

Koop, Jennifer A.H., Owen, Jeb P., Knutie, Sarah A., Aguilar, M. Alejandra, and Dale H. Clayton. (2013) Experimental demonstration of a parasite-induced immune response in wild birds  Darwin’s finches and introduced nest flies. Ecology and Evolution. doi:  10.1002/ece3.651.

Koop, Jennifer A.H., Huber, Sarah K., Laverty, Sean M., and Dale H. Clayton (2011) Experimental demonstration of the fitness consequences of an introduced parasite of Darwin’s finches. PLoS ONE, 6(5) e19706, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019706.

Huber, Sarah K., Owen, Jeb P., Koop, Jennifer A.H., King, Marisa O., Grant, Peter R., Grant, B. Rosemary, and Dale H. Clayton. (2010) Ecoimmunity in Darwin's Finches  invasive parasites trigger acquired immunity in the Medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis). PLoS ONE, 5 e8605, doi:10.1381/journal.pone.0008605.



Curriculm Vitae

Jennifer Koop Research Website


Postdoc., 2014, University of Arizona.

Ph.D., 2011, University of Utah.                                                              

B.S., 2004, University of Wisconsin

Fields of Interest

Evolutionary Biology, Invasion Biology, Population Genetics, Conservation Biology


Jennifer Koop 
Office: MO 449 (815) 753-4215
Lab:  MO 419
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115