Curriculum Vitae

Updated November 28, 2018


2016 – Present
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Doctor of Philosophy, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Expected Spring 2021

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Bachelor of Science, Biological Sciences Cum laude

Research Experience

2016 – Present
Graduate Researcher, Cressler Lab, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Conduct research on the microbiota of Daphnia magna, a keystone zooplankton species. Explore functions of commensal and mutualistic bacterial taxa in a host context. Examine transmission of species in the microbiota between generations.

2014 – 2016
Undergraduate Research Fellow, Relyea Lab, RPI

Participated in multiple facets of the Jefferson Project at Lake George. Involvment included zooplankton, macroinvertebrate, and macrophyte collection and identification for food web analysis. Completed work with Devin K. Jones on the effects of sublethal doses of different road salts on aquatic food webs.

Teaching Experience

2018 – Present
LIFE121L: Fundamentals of Biology II Laboratory (UNL, 2 semesters)
2017 – Present
Graduate Mentor (Cressler Lab, UNL)
LIFE120L: Fundamental of Biology Laboratory (UNL, 1 semester)
2016 – 2017
BIOS101L: General Biology Laboratory (UNL, 2 semesters)
2011 – 2012
Math and Science Tutor (Dutchess Community College, 1 semester)

Awards, Grants, & Fellowships

Jessie A. Lee Fund (UNL)
Blair Paxton Udale Fund for Life Sciences (UNL)
2012 – 2016
Rensselaer Leadership Award (RPI)
2012 – 2016
Rensellaer Recognition Award (RPI)


Jones DK, Mattes BM, Hintz WD, Schuler MS, Stoler AB, Lind LA, Cooper RO, Relyea RA. Investigation of road salts and biotic stressors on freshwater wetland communities. Environmental Pollution. 221: 159-167. Link.

In prep:
Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Characterization of the Daphnia magna microbiota using shotgun metagenomics.
Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Exploring mutualistic host-microbe relationships within the microbiota: a spectrum of vertical and horizontal transmission.
Cooper RO, Vavra J, Cressler CE. Manipulating the microbiota of Daphnia magna to understand the effects of isolated bacterial taxa on host fitness.


EPSCoR Microbiome Symposium, Lincoln NE
Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Microbiota composition and potential functions in a host planktonic crustacean. Poster.

American Society for Microbiology Microbe 2018, Atlanta GA
Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Microbiota composition and function in a host planktonic crustacean. Poster.

Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland OR
Cooper RO, Stava K, Vavra J, Cressler CE. What are the effects of individual groups within the microbiota on host fitness? Poster.

University Service

2017 – Present
Graduate Student Invited Speaker Co-Chair, Biology Graduate Student Association, UNL