Cody Porter


Dr. Cody Porter is an evolutionary ecologist who joined the Department of Biology in 2024. He is interested in a wide range of topics, including speciation, adaptation, behavioral ecology and thermoregulatory physiology. Most of his research focuses on birds, especially the bizarre and wonderful finches known as crossbills. Dr. Porter was honored as a distinguished faculty mentor by Lees-McRae College in North Carolina, where he taught from 2020-2022. At Hope College, he teaches General Biology and Vertebrate Zoology. 

His research is currently focused on three major areas: 1) evolutionary ecology of seed-eating finches called crossbills; 2) thermoregulatory physiology of songbirds; and 3) merging comparative approaches and foraging theory to better understand broad ecological and evolutionary patterns in nature. For the two years before he joined the Hope faculty, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Iowa State University.

Students interested in conducting research with Dr. Porter are encouraged to email him about current opportunities. One of the main goals of Dr. Porter’s research program is to help students develop skills that are relevant for their career interests. Skills that students could develop working with Dr. Porter include bioacoustics, biophysical modeling, a variety of field methods, meta-analytic methods and statistical analyses.

AREAS OF Expertise

  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Ecophysiology
  • Ornithology


  • Ph.D., ecology, University of Wyoming, 2020
  • B.S., zoology, Michigan State University, 2013


  • “The Effects of Humidity on Thermoregulatory Physiology of a Small Songbird” (with K. Cortes et al.), Journal of Experimental Biology, 2024
  • “Adaptive and Non-adaptive Convergent Evolution in Feather Reflectance of Channel Islands Songbirds” (with F. G. Romero et al.), Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2023
  • “Seasonal Patterns of Dietary Partitioning in Vertebrates” (with J. Golcher-Benavides and C. W. Benkman), Ecology Letters, 2022
  • “Performance Tradeoffs and Resource Availability Drive Variation in Reproductive Isolation between Sympatrically Diverging Crossbills” (with C. W. Benkman), American Naturalist, 2022
  • “Character Displacement of a Learned Behavior and its Implications for Ecological Speciation” (with C. W. Benkman), in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2019
  • “An Alternative to Adaptation by Sexual Selection: Habitat Choice” (with C.K. Akcali), in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 2018
  • “Assessing the Potential Contributions of Reduced Immigrant Viability and Fecundity to Reproductive Isolation” (with C. W. Benkman), in American Naturalist, 2017

View all of Dr. Porter’s publications

Outside the College

Dr. Porter enjoys exploring nature with his wife (Dr. Golcher-Benavides) and two dogs, Phoebe and Tulio. He also enjoys cross-country skiing, cooking, being a dedicated and suffering Detroit Pistons fan, and obsessively trying to pull the perfect shot of espresso.

Cody Porter

Phone Number616.395.7724

A. Paul Schaap Science Center Room 2023 35 East 12th Street Holland, MI 49423
A map showing the location for  Cody Porter A. Paul Schaap Science Center Room 2023 35 East 12th Street Holland MI 49423