Dr Daniel Leybourne

Research Fellow

Curriculum vitae

Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour. Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences

The University of Liverpool

Adaptive AI-enabled and context-enhanced mobile intelligence for climate-smart pest management to optimise sustainable and resilient farming (Innovate UK; Farming Innovations Pathway Grant; 2023-2024; Co-I; Liverpool University)

Project Overview:
In the UK a diverse range of pests affect arable crops (e.g., wheat, barley, rapeseed, potatoes). Insect pests can cause significant damage to arable crops, with average yield of losses of 15-20%, with this increasing to 80% under high levels of infestation. Pesticides are often applied to crops to provide protection and to limit yield losses. These applications are often done on an insurance basis (a spray is applied as contingency to mitigate potential yield loss) rather than a prescriptive basis (application follows correct pest identification with levels exceeding damage thresholds). The application of insurance sprays can increase the evolutionary pressure on insect populations, leading to the development of resistant insect populations. There is increasing demand for intelligent systems that can help farmers grow more sustainably through smart pesticide use to improve farm resilience while supporting more sustainable practices.

Currently, the prevention and control of UK crops pests heavily reply on experts' manual inspections and recommendations to farmers or growers on appropriate pest control measures. However, individual (grower-led) identification of crop pests is limited as accurate pest identification requires taxonomic training. A popular solution for this is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for automated, image-based identification of pests. However, these solutions suffer
 from reduced accuracy and robustness in real-world applications due to multiplicity of crops and variety of pests.
This project will investigate the technical feasibility of integrating contextual and visual information with adaptive AI technique into a mobile solution that offers: 1) rapid detection and quantification of arable crops pests; 2) efficient forecasting of accepted pest thresholds; 3) estimation of the corresponding efficacy of a pesticide and its regional pesticide resistance for climate-smart pest control. We will explore optimising existing deep learning pest detection model PestNet by the University of Sheffield with substructural optimal transport mechanisms in recognising multiple arable crops pests; evaluate adaptive continuous learning techniques for fusing image features and contextual information from existing datasets for supporting climate-change pest quantification; explore how this can be combined with accepted pest threshold levels and region-specific information on the pesticide resistance status of the identified pest species to produce an informative pest management output.
The Liverpool role in this project is to collect important herbivorous insect populations from across the UK and to conduct insecticide sensitivity assays on these populations. This information will be integrated into the smart-app to provide regional information on the insecticide susceptibility status of important herbivorous insects at a more local resolution. Target insects include: Grain aphid, rose-grain aphid, bird cherry-oat aphid, cabbage aphid, peach-potato aphid, potato aphid, pea aphid, black bean aphid, and cabbage stem flea beetle. We are also aiming to genotype multiple populations for a subset of these focal species, thereby providing additional insights into the genetic basis of insect success in these populations. 


Thresholds and prediction models to support the sustainable management of herbivorous insects in wheat. A review

Daniel J Leybourne, Kate Storer, Abigail Marshall, Nasamu Musa, Samuel Telling, Laurie Abel, Sacha White, Steve Ellis, Po Yang, Pete M Berry

EcoEvoRxiv, 2024

PestDSS: An Integrated Decision Support System for Sustainable Pest Management in Agriculture

Zhipeng Yuan, Shunbao Li, Ruolin Peng, Daniel Leybourne, Po Yang, Yang Li

2023 IEEE 32nd International Symposium on Industrial Electronics (ISIE), 2023, pp. 1-6


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