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Department of Biology


Michael McCoy


Assistant Professor of Ecology

Area of Study: 

Quantitative Population and Community Ecology







Howell S-105


Department of Biology


East Carolina University


Greenville, NC 27858


Educational Background

Ph.D.: Department of Zoology, University of Florida, 2006.

M.Sc.: Department of Biology, Old Dominion University, 2000.

B.Sc.: Department of Biology, Old Dominion University, 1996

Research Program           

I am a quantitative ecologist that develops and implements cutting edge experimental and statistical approaches to address questions in conservation, population, and community ecology and that help to better link empirical data to ecological and evolutionary theory. In my research I typically take a mechanistic approach aimed at understanding how variation in individual traits (e.g. size, stage and phenotype) scale up to influence population and community level processes and spatial coupling across ecosystems. Within this broader context, my research can be loosely categorized into five interrelated conceptual themes; 1) the ecological consequences of phenotypic plasticity, 2) body size dependence of ecological interactions, 3) cross ecosystem links formed by the sequential process of complex life cycles, 4) understanding multiple predator effects, and 5) the development of innovative experimental and quantitative approaches.

Courses Taught


Recent Publications

McCoy, M.W., Touchon, J., Landberg, T., Warkentin, K., and J.R. Vonesh (Accepted) Prey responses to predator chemical cues: Disentangling the importance of the number and biomass of prey consumed by predators. PLoS One.

Silliman, B. R., J. Diller, M. W. McCoy, G.Kasozi, K Earl,, J. van de Koppel, A. R. Zimmerman.  (2012) Degradation and resilience in Louisiana salt marshes following the BP-DWH oil spill. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

McCoy, M.W., B.M. Bolker, K. Warkentin, and J.R. Vonesh. (2011) Predicting predation through prey ontogeny using size-dependent functional response models. American Naturalist 177 (6): 752-766.

McCoy, M.W. A.P. Allen, and J.F. Gillooly. (2009) The random nature of genome architecture: Predicting open reading frame distributions.  PLoS ONE 4(7): e6456. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006456

McCoy, M.W. M. Barfield, and R.D. Holt. (2009). Predator shadows: Complex life histories as generators of spatially patterned indirect interactions across ecosystems – Oikos 118: 87-100.

McCoy, M.W., and J.F. Gillooly. (2008) Predicting natural mortality rates in plants and animals. Ecology Letters 11: 710-716

McCoy, M.W., B. M. Bolker. (2008) Trait-mediated interactions: influence of prey size density and experience. Journal of Animal Ecology 77(3): 478-486.

 McCoy, M.W. (2007) Conspecific density determines the magnitude and character of predator induced phenotype. Oecologia 153:871–878.  pdf

McCoy, M.W. , B.M. Bolker, C.W. Osenberg, B. Miner, and J.R Vonesh. (2006) Size correction: comparing morphological traits among populations and environments. Oecologia 148 (4): 547-554.

Knight, T.M., M. W. McCoy, J. M. Chase, K. A. McCoy and R. D. Holt. 2005. Trophic cascades across Ecosystems. Nature 437: 880-883.

Laboratory Personnel
Justin Touchon, Postdoc. student

Molly Albecker, Ph.D. Student

  Morgan Kain, MS Student