Dr Sophie McCoy

Post-Doctorate Fellow

Contact Details

+44 (0)1752 633100

Sophie McCoy is community ecologist with a specialty in macroalgal and rocky shore communities.  She is currently a Marie Curie Fellow in the Marine Life Support Systems group at PML.

At PML, Sophie’s work focuses on responses of intertidal algal communities to environmental stressors, including ocean acidification, temperature, and nutrient enrichment.  She uses a combination of field and laboratory experiments to link changes in community ecology to underlying physiological mechanisms.

Sophie received her PhD from the Dept. of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago in 2014, following an ScB in Chemistry from Brown University.  

She earned a Certificate in University Teaching at the University of Chicago Center for Teaching and Learning, and maintains an active interest in teaching science to students of all ages and backgrounds. 

Research interests:

• Species interactions within macroalgal communities
• Algal-grazer relationships
• Grazer behavior
• Effects of climate change on macroalgae
• Ecology and physiology of crustose coralline algae
• Skeletal geochemistry and sclerochronology (recent climate history)
• Geochemical tracer techniques (modern ecology)

Key Projects

REAFCC – Response of Ecosystem Assembly and Function to Climate Change (EU FP7 Marie Curie IIF)


McCoy, SJ and F Ragazzola (2014), Skeletal trade-offs in coralline algae in response to ocean acidification, Nature Climate Change, in press.

McCoy, SJ and CA Pfister (2014), Historical comparisons reveal altered competitive interactions in a guild of crustose coralline algae, Ecology Letters, 17: 475-483.

McCoy, SJ   (2013), Morphology of the crustose coralline alga Pseudolithophyllum muricatum (Rhodophyta, Corallinaceae) responds to 30 years of ocean acidification in the northeast Pacific, Journal of Phycology, 49(5): 830-837.

Garrard, SL, R Hunter, A Frommel, AC Lane, JC Phillips, R Cooper, R Dineshram, U Cardini, SJ McCoy, M Arnberg, BG Rodrigues Alves, S Annane, MR de Orte, A Kumar, G Aguirre-Martínez, RH Maneja, MD Basallote Sánchez, F Ape, A Torstensson, and MM Bjoerk (2013), Ocean acidification: the next generation - a postgraduate perspective on research priorities, Marine Biology, 160: 1789-1805.

Pfister, CA, SJ McCoy, JT Wootton, PA Martin, AS Colman and D Archer (2011), Rapid environmental change over the past decade revealed by isotopic analysis of the California mussel in the northeast Pacific, PLoS One, 6(10): e25766.

McCoy, SJ  , LF Robinson, CA Pfister, JT Wootton, and N Shimizu (2011), Exploring B/Ca as a pH-proxy in bivalves: Relationships between Mytilus californianus B/Ca and environmental data from the northeast Pacific, Biogeosciences, 8: 2567-2579.

Russell, JM, SJ McCoy, D Verschuren, I Bessems, and Y Huang (2009), Human impacts, climate change, and aquatic ecosystem response during the past 2000 yr at Lake Wandakara, Uganda, Quaternary Research, 72(3): 315-324.

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