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Dr David Hughes

Dr David Hughes

Marie Curie Fellow (currently in Harvard)

 Geoffrey Pope 

 

Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK

I am interested in parasite exploitation strategies and how they are shaped by host life history. Of particular interest is the adaptive manipulation of host behaviour by parasites. I mostly work with social insects as hosts because the behavioural changes of infected individuals can be set within a sociobiological framework. I am member of the Behaviour research group. I am currently at Harvard University and will return to Exeter in April 2010.

During my time away a major occupation will be generating funding to take on students and staff. If you are student at Exeter Biosciences (either campus) and interested in the work I do, then do contact me and we can discuss the research. I usually do field work (in Thailand) in September and getting involved in this would serve as an ideal way to get to know one another.

Qualifications

1999 - 2003 DPhil (Oxford) Thesis: 'The behavioural ecology of strepsipteran parasites of Polistes wasps'
1994- 1999 BSc Zoology (Glasgow)

Career

2008-2011 Marie Curie Outgoing International Fellowship at Harvard & Exeter
2005-2008 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship at Copenhagen
2003-2005 EU 6th Framework Training Network post-doc at Oulu

Research

Research interests

I have spent the last three years developing the infection of Carpenter ants by the behaviourally manipulating fungus, Ophiocordyceps (=Cordyceps) unilateralis, as a model for a range of ecological, evolutionary and mechanistic approaches. The work takes place in Thailand.

Research projects

The proximate mechanisms of behavioural manipulation by a fungus: The fungus Ophiocordyceps causes a dramatic change in ant behaviour. It induces infected ants to bite vegetation before killing the hapless host and converting its tissue into fungal spores that are shot from a large stalk that grows out from the head. What I want to determine, using a combined bio imaging, transcriptomic and metabolomic approach, is how the fungus controls ant behaviour? This research direction will be the prime focus of my work at Exeter over the coming years as I build up my own research group. I plan to use the considerable in-house expertise in fungal & microbial molecular biology to determine the mechanistic basis of a complex behavioural pas de deux between fungus and ant.

The phylogenetics and phylogeography of behavioural manipulation: The fungus O. unilateralis is pan-tropical and manipulates a wide range of ant species both at the local scale of Thailand where I work and on a global scale. It is one of a small number of currently recognized species within the genus Ophiocordyceps that manipulate ant behaviour. During my current 18-month stay at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ, Pierce Lab) I will re-construct an ant-Ophiocordyceps phylogeny on a local (Thailand) and global scale. The MCZ has been, and continues to be, the centre of ant studies in the world and also has very significant strengths in phylogenetics and life history theory.

The ecological consequences of behavioural manipulation: An infected ant expresses behaviour that benefits fungal and not ant genes. This is a parasite extended phenotype. I am interested in the ecology of these extended phenotypes.  There have been three research foci of this project: spatial ecology, behavioural ecology and community ecology. This work took place during my tenure in the Centre for Social Evolution (CSE), Copenhagen under a Marie Curie Fellowship where Koos Boomsma was the hosting scientist. I aim to continue my ecological work while at the School of Biosciences and am keen to develop links with students at the Cornwall campus.

Research networks

Centre for Social Evolution, Copenhagen SE
Mycology Lab at BIOTEC, Bangkok
Pierce Lab, Harvard
Tom Gilbert, Copenhagen

Research grants

  • 2008 Marie Curie Fellowship
    2008-2011 Marie Curie Fellowship
  • 2008 European Science Foundation
    Exploratory Workshop grant
  • 2007 World Wildlife Fund
    Novozymes Biodiversity grant
  • 2006 Marie Curie Fellowship
    Marie Curie Fellowship

Links


Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category


Journal articles

Pontoppidan M-B, Himaman W, Hywel-Jones NL, Boomsma JJ, Hughes DP (2009). Graveyards on the move: the spatio-temporal distribution of dead ophiocordyceps-infected ants. PLoS One, 4(3). Abstract.  Author URL.
Hughes DP, Kronauer DJC, Boomsma JJ (2008). Extended phenotype: nematodes turn ants into bird-dispersed fruits. Curr Biol, 18(7), R294-R295. Abstract.  Author URL.
Sanchez MI, Ponton F, Misse D, Hughes DP, Thomas F (2008). Hairworm response to notonectid attacks. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 75, 823-826. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Pierce NE, Boomsma JJ (2008). Social insect symbionts: evolution in homeostatic fortresses. Trends Ecol Evol, 23(12), 672-677. Abstract.  Author URL.
Cremer S, Ugelvig LV, Drijfhout FP, Schlick-Steiner BC, Steiner FM, Seifert B, Hughes DP, Schulz A, Petersen KS, Konrad H, et al (2008). The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants. PLoS One, 3(12). Abstract.  Author URL.
Sanchez MI, Ponton F, Schmidt-Rhaesa A, Hughes DP, Misse D, Thomas F (2008). Two steps to suicide in crickets harbouring hairworms. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 76, 1621-1624. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Cremer S (2007). Plasticity in antiparasite behaviours and its suggested role in invasion biology. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 74, 1593-1599. Author URL.
Kathirithamby J, Hughes DP (2006). Description and biological notes of the first species of Xenos (Strepsiptera : Stylopidae) parasitic in Polistes carnifex F. (Hymenoptera : Vespidae) in Mexico. ZOOTAXA(1104), 35-45. Author URL.
Ponton F, Lebarbenchon C, Lefevre T, Thomas F, Duneau D, Marche L, Renault L, Hughes DP, Biron DG (2006). Hairworm anti-predator strategy: a study of causes and consequences. PARASITOLOGY, 133, 631-638. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Boomsma JJ (2006). Muscling out malaria. TRENDS IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, 21(10), 533-534. Author URL.
Ponton F, Lebarbenchon C, Lefevre T, Biron DG, Duneau D, Hughes DP, Thomas F (2006). Parasitology - Parasite survives predation on its host. NATURE, 440(7085), 756-756. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Kathirithamby J (2005). Cost of strepsipteran macroparasitism for immature wasps: does sociality modulate virulence?. OIKOS, 110(3), 428-434. Author URL.
Hughes DP (2005). Parasitic manipulation: a social context. Behav Processes, 68(3), 263-266. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Pamilo P, Kathirithamby J (2004). Horizontal transmission of Wolbachia by strepsipteran endoparasites? a response to Noda et al. 2001. Mol Ecol, 13(2), 507-509. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Kathirithamby J, Beani L (2004). Prevalence of the parasite Strepsiptera in adult Polistes wasps: field collections and literature overview. ETHOLOGY ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, 16(4), 363-375. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Kathirithamby J, Turillazzi S, Beani L (2004). Social wasps desert the colony and aggregate outside if parasitized: parasite manipulation?. BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY, 15(6), 1037-1043. Author URL.
Johnston JS, Ross LD, Beani L, Hughes DP, Kathirithamby J (2004). Tiny genomes and endoreduplication in Strepsiptera. INSECT MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 13(6), 581-585. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Beani L, Turillazzi S, Kathirithamby J (2003). Prevalence of the parasite Strepsiptera in Polistes as detected by dissection of immatures. INSECTES SOCIAUX, 50(1), 62-68. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Moya-Raygoza G, Kathirithamby J (2003). The first record among Dolichoderinae (Formicidae) of parasitism by Strepsiptera. INSECTES SOCIAUX, 50(2), 148-150. Author URL.
Kathirithamby J, Hughes DP (2002). Caenocholax fenyesi (Strepsiptera : Myrmecolacidae) parasitic in Camponotus planatus (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) in Mexico: is this the original host?. ANNALS OF THE ENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA, 95(5), 558-563. Author URL.

Publications by year


2009

Pontoppidan M-B, Himaman W, Hywel-Jones NL, Boomsma JJ, Hughes DP (2009). Graveyards on the move: the spatio-temporal distribution of dead ophiocordyceps-infected ants. PLoS One, 4(3). Abstract.  Author URL.

2008

Hughes DP, Kronauer DJC, Boomsma JJ (2008). Extended phenotype: nematodes turn ants into bird-dispersed fruits. Curr Biol, 18(7), R294-R295. Abstract.  Author URL.
Sanchez MI, Ponton F, Misse D, Hughes DP, Thomas F (2008). Hairworm response to notonectid attacks. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 75, 823-826. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Pierce NE, Boomsma JJ (2008). Social insect symbionts: evolution in homeostatic fortresses. Trends Ecol Evol, 23(12), 672-677. Abstract.  Author URL.
Cremer S, Ugelvig LV, Drijfhout FP, Schlick-Steiner BC, Steiner FM, Seifert B, Hughes DP, Schulz A, Petersen KS, Konrad H, et al (2008). The evolution of invasiveness in garden ants. PLoS One, 3(12). Abstract.  Author URL.
Sanchez MI, Ponton F, Schmidt-Rhaesa A, Hughes DP, Misse D, Thomas F (2008). Two steps to suicide in crickets harbouring hairworms. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 76, 1621-1624. Author URL.

2007

Hughes DP, Cremer S (2007). Plasticity in antiparasite behaviours and its suggested role in invasion biology. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 74, 1593-1599. Author URL.

2006

Kathirithamby J, Hughes DP (2006). Description and biological notes of the first species of Xenos (Strepsiptera : Stylopidae) parasitic in Polistes carnifex F. (Hymenoptera : Vespidae) in Mexico. ZOOTAXA(1104), 35-45. Author URL.
Ponton F, Lebarbenchon C, Lefevre T, Thomas F, Duneau D, Marche L, Renault L, Hughes DP, Biron DG (2006). Hairworm anti-predator strategy: a study of causes and consequences. PARASITOLOGY, 133, 631-638. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Boomsma JJ (2006). Muscling out malaria. TRENDS IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, 21(10), 533-534. Author URL.
Ponton F, Lebarbenchon C, Lefevre T, Biron DG, Duneau D, Hughes DP, Thomas F (2006). Parasitology - Parasite survives predation on its host. NATURE, 440(7085), 756-756. Author URL.

2005

Hughes DP, Kathirithamby J (2005). Cost of strepsipteran macroparasitism for immature wasps: does sociality modulate virulence?. OIKOS, 110(3), 428-434. Author URL.
Hughes DP (2005). Parasitic manipulation: a social context. Behav Processes, 68(3), 263-266. Author URL.

2004

Hughes DP, Pamilo P, Kathirithamby J (2004). Horizontal transmission of Wolbachia by strepsipteran endoparasites? a response to Noda et al. 2001. Mol Ecol, 13(2), 507-509. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Kathirithamby J, Beani L (2004). Prevalence of the parasite Strepsiptera in adult Polistes wasps: field collections and literature overview. ETHOLOGY ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, 16(4), 363-375. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Kathirithamby J, Turillazzi S, Beani L (2004). Social wasps desert the colony and aggregate outside if parasitized: parasite manipulation?. BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY, 15(6), 1037-1043. Author URL.
Johnston JS, Ross LD, Beani L, Hughes DP, Kathirithamby J (2004). Tiny genomes and endoreduplication in Strepsiptera. INSECT MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 13(6), 581-585. Author URL.

2003

Hughes DP, Beani L, Turillazzi S, Kathirithamby J (2003). Prevalence of the parasite Strepsiptera in Polistes as detected by dissection of immatures. INSECTES SOCIAUX, 50(1), 62-68. Author URL.
Hughes DP, Moya-Raygoza G, Kathirithamby J (2003). The first record among Dolichoderinae (Formicidae) of parasitism by Strepsiptera. INSECTES SOCIAUX, 50(2), 148-150. Author URL.

2002

Kathirithamby J, Hughes DP (2002). Caenocholax fenyesi (Strepsiptera : Myrmecolacidae) parasitic in Camponotus planatus (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) in Mexico: is this the original host?. ANNALS OF THE ENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA, 95(5), 558-563. Author URL.

david_hughes Details from cache as at 2018-08-15 15:36:19

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Editorial responsibilities

I have acted as a reviewer for Biology Letters, Molecular Ecology, Ecological Entomology, Parasitology and Proceeding of the Royal Society.
In 2008 I edited a book for OUP, with Patrizia d’Ettorre.


Invited lectures

I have given many departmental lectures in a number of fine institutions.


Media Coverage

National Geographic are doing a feature length article on my research in Thailand and parasites more generally.


Workshops/Conferences organised

I am convening an ESF Exploratory Workshop to take place in Copenhagen in early November. The topic is the extended phenotype, I hope to get a website up and running disseminating the activities and outcome of this.

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