Hopkins, Melanie main content.

Melanie J. Hopkins

Melanie_Hopkins

Associate Curator, Invertebrate Paleontology, Division of Paleontology
Associate Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

Phone:
212-769-5558

Education

  • University of Chicago, Ph.D., 2010
  • Stanford University, B.S., 2002

Research Interests

Dr. Hopkins’s research focuses on the study of morphological evolution in the fossil record. She is interested in the quantification and analysis of complex morphology; analysis of within-lineage tempo and mode of evolution; the influence of covariation and ontogenetic variation on the long-term evolution of lineages; the interaction between morphological change and environmental change; and the importance of scale and hierarchy in understanding long-term patterns of evolutionary change and the processes underlying them.

Dr. Hopkins’s taxonomic interest lies with arthropods. Most of her research focuses on the paleobiology and early evolutionary history of trilobites, but she has also studied variation in extant fiddler crabs. Her research makes use of a variety of quantitative methods, including geometric morphometrics, phylogenetic comparative methods, and time series analysis. Many projects are specimen based and rely on the extensive use of museum and new field collections. Other projects have made use of community databases, such as the Paleobiology Database. She is active in field work, particularly the Gerat Basin, New York, Quebec and Norway.

Links

Division of Paleontology

Richard Gilder Graduate School

Publications

(Selected, 2014-present)

  • Hopkins MJ, and K St John. 2018. A new family of dissimilarity metrics for discrete character matrices that include inapplicable characters and its importance for disparity studies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285(1892):20181784.
  • Hopkins MJ, Bapst DW, Simpson C, Warnock RCM. 2018. The inseparability of sampling and time and its influence on attempts to unify the molecular and fossil records. Paleobiology 44: 561-574.
  • Thurman CL, Hopkins MJ, Brase AL, Shih H-T.  2018. The unusual case of the widely distributed fiddler crab Minuca rapax (Smith, 1870) from the western Atlantic: an exemplary polytypic species. Invertebrate Systematics 32:1465-1491.
  • Hopkins MJ, Chen F, Hu S, Zhang Z. 2017. The oldest known digestive system consisting of both paired digestive glands and a crop from exceptionally preserved trilobites of the Guanshan Biota (Early Cambrian, China). PLOSone 12(9): e0184982. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184982
  • Kröger B, Finnegan S, Franeck F, Hopkins MJ. 2017. The Ordovician succession adjacent to Hinlopenstretet, Ny Friesland, Spitsbergen. American Museum Novitates 3882: 28 p. doi: 10.1206/3882.1.
  • Hopkins MJ. 2017. Development, trait evolution, and the evolution of development in trilobites. Integrative and Comparative Biology 57:488-498.
  • Hopkins MJ, Haber A, Thurman CL. 2016. Constraints on geographic variation in fiddler crabs (Ocypodidae: Uca) from the western Atlantic. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 29:1553-1568.
  • Hunt, G, Hopkins, M.J., and Lidgard, S., 2015, Simple versus complex models of trait evolution, and stasis as a response to environmental change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, v. 112, no. 16, p. 4885-4890.
  • Hopkins MJ. 2016. Magnitude versus direction of change and the contribution of macroevolutionary trends to morphological disparity. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 118: 116-130.
  • Hunt G, Hopkins MJ, Lidgard S. 2015. Simple versus complex models of trait evolution, and stasis as a response to environmental change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, v. 112, no. 16, p. 4885-4890.
  • Hopkins MJ, Smith AB. 2015. Dynamic evolutionary change in post-Paleozoic echinoids, and the importance of scale when interpreting rates of evolution: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, v. 112, no. 2, p. 3758-3763.
  • Hopkins MJ. 2014. Environmental patterning of trilobite morphological disparity. Paleobiology 40:352-373.
  • Hopkins MJ, Simpson C, Kiessling W. 2014. Differential niche dynamics among major marine invertebrate clades, Ecology Letters 17: 314-323.

Teaching Experience

Courses Taught

  • Co-instructor, "Geometric Morphometrics", 2015-2019
  • Co-instructor, "Extinctions Science", 2018
  • Co-instructor, "Evolution", 2014-2019
  • Co-instructor, “RGGS Comparative Biology Seminar Series", 2014-2017