Paul Cooper



I undertook my PhD at UCLA studying water balance in desert beetles. I then went travelling, taking a postdoctoral position wherever I found one; so I was at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, University of Arizona and University of British Columbia. I obtained a postdoc at La Trobe University before being appointed as a contract lecturer here at ANU in 1987. I have lectured in physiological, behavioural and introductory ecology, invertebrate and vertebrate zoology, entomology and the current physiology courses. My research uses various microscopic techniques (confocal, SEM, x-ray µCT), as well as a variety of electrophysiological techniques. I am an editor for the Australian Journal of Zoology and act as the convenor of the recovery team for the Grassland Earless Dragon, an endangered agamid lizard that has known populations only in the ACT and NSW south to Cooma.


Research interests

  • Regulation of feeding in insects by neural and endocrine systems. 
  • Physiology and ecology of aquatic macroinvertebrates, especially salt and pH regulation, and their use as indicators of water quality. 
  • Physiology and ecology of insect pests of Australian agriculture.

Recent grants

  • Students have been funded by the Malaysian government and AusAID in the last 5 years. No Australian government grants in that period.


I convene courses 2013 and 3203, and supervise undergratuate and Honours research projects. 
Past students have jobs at universities and in a number of government agencies. The lab is very successful at ensuring post graduate and Honours students are able to obtain positions.


Selected publications

  • Cooper, P.D., Schaffer, W.M. and Buchmann, S.L. 1985. Heat budgets and temperature regulation in honey bees foraging in the desert. Journal of Experimental Biology 114, 1-15.
  • Cooper, P.D. 1994. Mechanisms of hemolymph acid-base regulation in aquatic insects. Physiological Zoology 67, 29-53.
  • Cooper, P.D. and He, P.-H. 1994. Control of foregut contraction in the black field cricket, Teleogryllus commodus Walker (Orthoptera, Gryllidae). Journal of Insect Physiology 40, 475-481.
  • East, P.D., Hales, D.F.& Cooper, P.D. 1997. Distribution of sulfakinin-like peptides in the central and sympathetic nervous system of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana (L.) and the field cricket Teleogryllus commodus (Walker). Tissue and Cell 39, 347-354.
  • Cooper, P.D. 2001. What physiological processes permit insects to eat Eucalyptus leaves? Australian Journal of Ecology 26, 556-562.
  • Woodman, J.D. P.D. Cooper and V.S. Haritos. 2007. Cyclic gas exchange in the giant burrowing cockroach, Macropanesthia rhinoceros: effect of oxygen tension and temperature. Journal of Insect Physiology 53, 497-504.
  • Woodman, J.D., Paul D. Cooper and Victoria S. Haritos. 2008. Neural regulation of discontinuous gas exchange in Periplaneta americana. Journal of Insect Physiology 54, 472-480.
  • Woodman, J.D., V. S. Haritos and P.D. Cooper. 2008. Effects of phosphine on the neural regulation of gas exchange in Periplaneta americana. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 147: 271-277.
  • Cooper, P.D., S.R. Dennis, J.D. Woodman, A. Cowlings and C. Donnelly. 2010. Effect of opioid compounds on feeding and activity of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology C 151, 298-302.
  • Cooper, P.D. & Beckage, N.E. 2010. The effects of parasitism on foregut contraction in the caterpillar of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta L. Journal of Insect Physiology, 56, 1958-1965.

All publications

Updated:  16 February 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB