Scott D. Cooper

Research Professor
(805) 893-4508
2136 Noble Hall


I received my Bachelor’s of Science degree in 1974 from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and my doctoral degree in 1979 from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, both in zoology (emphasis: freshwater ecology). Since arriving at the University of California – Santa Barbara in 1979, I have taught a variety of courses and conducted research in the fields of aquatic biology, freshwater ecology, and ecological statistics. I also have served in a variety of administrative capacities at the University of California, including Department Chair, UCSB Natural Reserve System Director, and UC-systemwide Associate Director and Academic Dean of the Education Abroad Program.


My basic research has focused on the effects of scale and spatial heterogeneity on biological interactions in streams and my applied research has concentrated on the impacts of acid deposition, livestock grazing, land use changes, pollutant sources, climate change, exotic species, and wildfire on freshwater ecosystems. Current research foci include investigations of how spatial heterogeneity in resource subsidies to ecological systems affect consumer-resource interactions and integrated examinations of the impacts of land use and wildfire on stream communities. In the latter case, we are comparing physical, chemical, bacterial, algal, invertebrate, and fish communities in streams draining basins that were burned by intensive wildfires to stream in basins that remained unburned. As part of these studies, we are using stable isotope signatures of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen and gut content analyses to determine food web structure in streams in burned vs. unburned basins.

Selected Publications

  • 2013 Verkaik, I., M. Rieradevall, S. D. Cooper, J. M. Melack, T. L. Dudley and N. Prat. Fire as a disturbance in Mediterranean climate streams. Hydrobiologia (in review).
  • 2013 Cooper, S.D., P.S. Lake, S. Sabater, J.M. Melack, and J.L. Sabo. The effects of land use changes on streams and rivers in Mediterranean climates. Hydrobiologia. (Early on-line publication: DOI 10.1007/s10750-012-1333-4).
  • 2012 Alagona, P.S., S.D. Cooper, M.H. Capelli, M. Stoecker, and P. Beedle. The history of steelhead and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Santa Ynez River watershed, Santa Barbara County, California. The Southern California Academy of Sciences Bulletin (in press).
  • 2012 Klose, K. and S.D. Cooper. Complex impacts of an invasive omnivore and native consumers on stream communities in California and Hawaii. Oecologia (early on-line publication doi: 10.1007/s004422-012-2449-y).
  • 2012 Klose, K., S.D. Cooper, A.D. Leydecker, and J. Kreitler. Relationships among catchment land use and concentrations of nutrients, algae, and dissolved oxygen in a southern California river. Freshwater Science 31: 908-927.
  • 2012 Klose, K. and S.D. Cooper. Contrasting effects of an invasive crayfish (Procamburus clarkii) on two temperate stream communities. Freshwater Biology 57: 526-540.
  • 2010 Herbst, D.B. and S.D. Cooper. Before and after the deluge: rain-on-snow flooding effects on aquatic invertebrate communities of small streams in the Sierra Nevada, California. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 29: 1354-1366.
  • 2009 Herbst, D.B., E.L. Silldorff, and S.D. Cooper. The influence of introduced trout on the benthic communities of paired headwater streams in the Sierra Nevada of California. Freshwater Biology 54: 1324-1342.
  • 2006 Busse, L.B., J.C. Simpson, and S.D. Cooper. Relationships among nutrients, algae, and land use in urbanized southern California streams. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 63: 2621-2638.
  • 2005 Borer, E. T., E. W. Seabloom, J. B. Shurin, K.E. Anderson, C. A. Blanchette, B. Broitman, S. D. Cooper, and B.S. Halpern. What determines the strength of a trophic cascade? Ecology 86: 528-537.