Dr Georgina Cooke

PhD supervisors: Prof L Beheregaray & Prof N Chao

Primarily, I am interested in how DNA can be used to address fundamental questions in evolutionary biology. In 2011 I completed my PhD (Macquarie University, Sydney) studying the origin of Amazonian fish diversity.  Using a range of molecular markers and analytical approaches, I studied the spatial distributions of neutral and adaptive genetic diversity within the context of geomorphogical history, tributary arrangement and hydrochemistry for five co-distributed species of Amazonian freshwater fish. 

 I am currently a postdoc under Terry Ord at the University of New South Wales researching the evolution of a ‘fish out of water’. Using a combination of genetic, ecological and behavioural data, we are studying the origin of terrestriality in a small group of Blenny fish genera. Collectively, these living land-dwelling, amphibious and aquatic fishes provide a unique opportunity to study the evolutionary spectrum of terrestriality, serving as powerful analogues to how fish left the water during the Devonian.


Website: https://sites.google.com/site/georginamcooke/

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– Cooke GM, Chao NL, Beheregaray LB (2012) Divergent natural selection with gene flow along major environmental gradients in Amazonia: Insights from genome scans, population genetics and phylogeography of the characin fish Triportheus albus. Molecular Ecology In press.

– Cooke GM, Chao, NL, Beheregaray LB (2011) Marine incursions, cryptic species and ecological diversification in Amazonia: the biogeographic history of the croaker genus Plagioscion (Sciaenidae). Journal of Biogeography  doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02635.x

– Teske PR, Rius M, McQuaid CD, Styan CA, Piggott MP, Benhissoune S, Fuentes-Grünewald C, Walls K, Page M, Attard CRM, Cooke GM, McClusky CF, Banks SC, Barker NP, Beheregaray LB (2011) “Nested” cryptic diversity in a widespread marine ecosystem engineer: a challenge for detecting biological invasions. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11, 1471-2148

– Cooke GM, Chao, NL, Beheregaray LB (2009) Phylogeography of a flooded forest specialist fish from central Amazonia based on intron DNA: the cardinal tetra, Paracheirodon axelrodiFreshwater Biology 54, 1216-1232

– Cooke GM, Beheregaray LB (2007) Extremely high variability in the S72 intron of the Amazonian cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi). Journal of Fish Biology 71, 132-140