Sophie J. McCoy, Ph.D.


Florida State University 

Department of Biological Science

319 Stadium Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA

e-mail:;  website:


Professional Appointments    

2016 - present    Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University    

2019 - 2022         Norma J. Lang Early Career Research Fellow, Phycological Society of America    

2014 - 2016         Marie Curie Fellow, Marine Ecology & Biodiversity, Plymouth Marine Laboratory                        




Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution                             2009 - 2014

The University of Chicago

Advisor: Dr. Catherine A. Pfister                                                                                  


Sc.B. Chemistry with Honors                            2004 - 2008

Brown University


10 Selected Publications (21 peer-reviewed publications; 11 as first author; + 2 in review) 

Total citations: 415; h-index: 10; i10-index: 10

McCoy, SJ and S Widdicombe (2019). Thermal tolerance is independent of environmental history in an intertidal seaweed. In press, Ecology and Evolution.

Cissell, EC#, JC Manning# and SJ McCoy (2019). Consumption of proliferating cyanobacterial mats on Caribbean reefs. Scientific Reports 9: 12693. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49126-9   

(# mentored graduate students)

Queirós, AM, N Stephens, S Widdicombe, K Tait, SJ McCoy, J Ingels, S Ruhl, R Airs, A Beesley, G Carnovale, P Cazenave, S Dashfield, E Hua, M Jones, P Lindeque, CL McNeill, J Nunes, H Parry, C Pascoe, A Rees, C Widdicombe, T Smyth, A Atkinson, D Krause-Jensen, PJ Somerfield (2019), Connected macroalgal-sediment systems: Blue carbon and foodwebs in the deep coastal ocean. Ecological Monographs: 89(3): e01366. doi: 10.1002/ecm.1366

McCoy, SJ and NA Kamenos (2018), Coralline algal skeletal mineralogy affects grazer impacts. Global Change Biology, 24(10): 4775-4783. doi: 10.1111/gcb.14370

McCoy, SJ, CA Pfister, G Olack, and AS Colman (2016), Diurnal and tidal patterns of carbon uptake and calcification in geniculate intertidal coralline algae, Marine Ecology, 37(3): 553-564.  doi 10.1111/maec.12295

McCoy, SJ, S Allesina and CA Pfister (2016), Ocean acidification affects competition for space: projections of community structure using cellular automata, Proceedings of the Royal Society, B, 283: 20152561. doi 10.1098/rspb.2015.2561

McCoy, SJ and NA Kamenos (2015), Coralline algae (Rhodophyta) in a changing world: integrating ecological, physiological, and geochemical responses to global change, Journal of Phycology, 51:6-24. 


McCoy, SJ and F Ragazzola (2014), Skeletal trade-offs in coralline algae in response to ocean acidification, Nature Climate Change, 4: 719-723.


McCoy, SJ and CA Pfister (2014), Historical comparisons reveal altered competitive interactions in a guild of crustose coralline algae, Ecology Letters, 17: 475-483.


McCoy, SJ (2013), Morphology of the crustose coralline alga Pseudolithophyllum muricatum (Rhodophyta, Corallinaceae) responds to 30 years of ocean acidification in the northeast Pacific, Journal of Phycology, 49(5): 830-837.


Selected Honors and Awards (>$800,000 research and fellowship funds awarded)

Phycological Society of America, Norma J. Lang Early Career Fellowship, 2019 - 2022

Florida State University, Committee on Faculty Research Support Award, 2019

Florida State University, First Year Assistant Professor Award, 2017

Invited Speaker, Gordon Research Conference: ‘Classifying Biotic Responses

    to a Rapidly Changing Ocean: From Genes to Ecosystems’, 2016

Marine Alliance for Science and Technology, Scotland (MASTS),

     Postdoctoral and Early Career Researcher Exchange (PECRE) Fellowship, 2016

EU FP7 Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship (IIF), 2014 - 2016

Best Dissertation in the Biological Sciences, University of Chicago, 2014

Departmental Award, Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, 2014

Bold Award, Phycological Society of America, 2013

ARCS Foundation Scholar, 2011 - 2013

NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, 2011 - 2013

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP), 2010 - 2014

National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, 2010 - 2013

NASA Planetary Biology Internship (PBI) Award, 2009


Notable Synergistic Activities

Chair, Grants and Fellowships Committee, Phycological Society of America, 2019 - present

Founding Member, FSU Women in STEM Faculty Network, 2019 - present

Reviewer, NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, 2019 - present

Grants and Fellowships Committee, Phycological Society of America, 2014, 2016 - 2018

Invited Panelist, World Ocean’s Day at the Florida State Capitol, 2018

Research Mentor, FSU Young Scholars Program (high school students), 2017 - present

FSU Women in Math, Science, and Engineering (WiMSE) Mentor, 2017 - present

Steering Committee, NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Ocean Acidification Network, 2016 - present

Panelist, Dept. of Defense NDSEG Graduate Fellowships, 2015 - 2019