Dr Daniel Leybourne

Research Fellow

Curriculum vitae

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

The University of Liverpool

Exploiting molecular plant-aphid interactions for improved pest control under climate change (Scottish Food Security Alliance - Crops; PhD Studentship; 2015-2019; Dundee University)

Aphids are significant herbivorous insect pests that infest a range of agriculturally and horticulturally important crops. The bird cherry-oat aphid, Rhopalosiphum padi, is a major herbivorous insect of cereal crops and is one of the main vectors of cereal viruses. Improving our understanding of the interactions that occur between herbivorous insects and their host plants is important if we are to continue to develop novel and sustainable methods for managing and controlling herbivorous insect populations.

There are a many factors that can influence the interactions between aphids and their host plants, including the level of plant resistance against aphids, diversity within an aphid population (e.g. aphid genotype and/or the presence of endosymbionts), and environmental conditions. The aim of my PhD project was to examine how these factors interact to influence plant-aphid interactions. Key results from this project are highlighted in the publications below.


Drought stress increases the expression of barley defence genes with negative consequences for infesting cereal aphids

Daniel J Leybourne, Tracy A Valentine, Kirsty Binnie, Anna Taylor, Alison J Karley, Jorunn I B Bos

Journal of Experimental Botany, vol. 73, 2022 Jan, pp. 2238-2250

Drought has negative consequences on aphid fitness and plant vigor: Insights from a meta-analysis

Daniel J. Leybourne, Katharine F. Preedy, Tracy A. Valentine, Jorunn I. B. Bos, Alison J. Karley

Ecology and Evolution, vol. 11, 2021, pp. 11915-11929

Learning-induced switching costs in a parasitoid can maintain diversity of host aphid phenotypes although biocontrol is destabilized under abiotic stress

Katharine F. Preedy, Mark A. J. Chaplain, Daniel J. Leybourne, Glenn Marion, Alison J. Karley

Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. 89, 2020, pp. 1216-1229

Defence gene expression and phloem quality contribute to mesophyll and phloem resistance to aphids in wild barley

Daniel J Leybourne, Tracy A Valentine, Jean A H Robertson, Estefania Pérez-Fernández, Angela M Main, Alison J Karley, Jorunn I B Bos

Journal of Experimental Botany, vol. 70, 2019 Apr, pp. 4011-4026

A fitness cost resulting from Hamiltonella defensa infection is associated with altered probing and feeding behaviour in Rhopalosiphum padi

Daniel J. Leybourne, Tracy A. Valentine, Jorunn I. B. Bos, Alison J. Karley

Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 223, The Company of Biologists Ltd, 2020

The price of protection: a defensive endosymbiont impairs nymph growth in the bird cherry-oat aphid, Rhopalosiphum padi

Daniel J. Leybourne, Jorunn I. B. Bos, Tracy A. Valentine, Alison J. Karley

Insect Science, vol. 27, 2020, pp. 69-85

Plant resistance in different cell layers affects aphid probing and feeding behaviour during non-host and poor-host interactions

C Escudero-Martinez, D Leybourne, J Bos

Bulletin of Entomological Research, vol. 111, 2021, pp. 31-38


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