UVA Biology People Bob Cox

Robert Cox

Professor of Biology
216 PLSB
(434) 982-1987
Lab: (434) 243-3399


  • B.A., College of the Holy Cross, 1999
  • Ph.D., Rutgers University, 2005

Research Interests

Our research lies at the interface of two topics: (1) the evolutionary dynamics associated with the divergent reproductive roles of males and females, and (2) the ecological factors that shape natural selection on physiology, morphology, and life history. Current projects in our lab are addressing causes and consequences of sexual conflict, the evolutionary and endocrine basis of sexual dimorphism, and the physiological and ecological mechanisms that shape life-history tradeoffs. All of these projects involve vertebrates (usually reptiles) and most combine both laboratory and field components, with an emphasis on experimental approaches and new genetic and genomic techniques. We conduct the field portions of these studies in diverse natural habitats ranging from the deserts and mountains of Arizona to coastal islands in the Bahamas and Florida. In any study, our overarching goal is to understand both how a particular phenomenon is regulated (physiology, genetics) and why it has evolved (ecology, evolution).

For more information on research interests, see my lab website.

Representative Publications

  • Reedy, A.M., C.L. Cox, A.K. Chung, W.J. Evans, and R.M. Cox. (2015). Both sexes suffer increased parasitism and reduced energy storage as costs of reproduction in the brown anole (Anolis sagrei). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, (DOI: 10.1111/bij.12685).
  • Kahrl, A.F., and R.M. Cox. (2015). Diet affects ejaculate traits in a lizard with condition-dependent fertilization success. Behavioral Ecology, (DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arv105).
  • Cox, C.L. and R.M. Cox. (2015). Evolutionary shifts in habitat aridity predict evaporative water loss across squamate reptiles. Evolution, 69: 2507-2516.
  • Cox, C.L., A.F. Hanninen, A.M. Reedy**, and R.M. Cox. (2015). Female anoles retain responsiveness to testosterone despite the evolution of androgen-mediated sexual dimorphism. Functional Ecology, 29: 758-767.
  • Cox, R.M. and R. Calsbeek. (2014). Survival of the fattest? Indices of body condition do not predict viability in the brown anole (Anolis sagrei). Functional Ecology, 29: 404-413.
  • Cox, R.M., M.B. Lovern and R. Calsbeek. (2014). Experimentally decoupling reproduction and energetics to test the functional basis of a life-history tradeoff. Journal of Animal Ecology, 83: 888-898.