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  • Professor Emeritus of Biology Published in Latest Issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B
For Immediate Release
January 08, 2014

Professor Emeritus of Biology Published in Latest Issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B

Key Info

  • William Cooper, professor emeritus of biology at IPFW.
  • Coauthored article titled "Island tameness: living on islands reduces flight initiation distance.”
  • Paper to be published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the Royal Society's flagship biological research journal.
  • Print version available February 22, 2014. Online edition available now.
Professor Emeritus of Biology Published in Latest Issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B Image 1
William Cooper, professor emeritus of biology Print-quality image

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—William Cooper, professor emeritus in Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne's (IPFW) Department of Biological Sciences, is lead author of an article titled, “Island tameness: living on islands reduces flight initiation distance.” The article confirms that Darwin's anecdotal observations that some prey on remote oceanic islands are tame is a general phenomenon affecting a large prey group, lizards. The article will be published in the February 22, 2014 print edition of Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the Royal Society’s flagship biological research journal, dedicated to the rapid publication and broad dissemination of high-quality research papers, reviews, and comment and reply papers. The article is available now online at the Royal Society website.

Cooper, a behavioral ecologist, coauthored the article with R. Alexander Pyron, a systematist, of George Washington University, and Theodore Garland Jr., an evolutionary ecologist, of the University of California, Riverside. The complementary expertise of all three authors was needed to complete the project.

Article summary:
Darwin proposed that animals are tame on remote islands. Although some island species are tame, the existence of island tameness and its hypothesized basis, reduced predation, have not been established for any large group of prey. We conducted analyses of relationships of flight initiation distance to distance to mainland, island area, and occupation of an island for 66 lizard species, taking into account differences in prey size and predator approach speed. We demonstrated that island tameness exists and that flight initiation distance decreases as distance from mainland increases. Reduced predation occurs on some islands, but the predation hypothesis remains untested.

For more information contact Cooper at cooperw@ipfw.edu.

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