Dr Lesley Smith

Research Interests

Lesley SmithI am a behavioural ecologist and my main area of research is how animal behaviour drives disease dynamics. I work on multidisciplinary projects which aim to gain an understanding of patterns of infection from biological processes in order to determine effective disease control strategies. My research interests include the impact of animal social contact patterns on disease transmission; host behavioural signatures of parasitism; the role of wildlife in livestock disease patterns; and disease control strategies.

Previous projects include the EU funded WildTech project which brought together researchers from a wide range of disciplines in order to develop novel multiplex technologies for detection of pathogens in wildlife, thus contributing to wildlife disease surveillance and control.

I have also previously worked on the Defra LINK GreenPig project, which involved working closely with industrial collaborators to investigate alternative protein sources for pig diets in order to improve food security. My PhD research used a combined approach of field trials and modelling to investigate the effect of herbivore grazing decisions on exposure to parasites.


  • BSc Zoology, University of Aberdeen, 2000
  • MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour & Animal Welfare, University of Edinburgh, 2001
  • PhD “Herbivore grazing decisions in relation to parasites in the environment”,  University of York/SAC, 2008

Selected Publications

  • Hestvik, G., Warns-Petit, E., Smith, L.A., Fox, N.J., Uhlhorn, H., Artois, M., Hannant, D., Hutchings, M.R., Mattisson, R., Yon, L., Gavier-Widen, D. (2014) The status of tularemia in Europe in a one health context: a review. Epidemiology and Infection. doi: 10.1017/S0950268814002398
  • Shaughnessy, L.J., Smith, L.A., Evans, J., Anderson, S., Caldow, G., Marion G., Low, J.C., Hutchings, M.R. (2013) High prevalence of paratuberculosis in rabbits is associated with difficulties in controlling the disease in cattle. The Veterinary Journal In Press, doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.08.030
  • Smith, L. A., Houdijk, J. G. M., Homer, D., & Kyriazakis, I. (2013). Effects of dietary inclusion of pea and faba bean as a replacement for soybean meal on grower and finisher pig performance and carcass quality. Journal of animal science, 91, 3733–3741
  • Smith, L. A., Wells, K. L., Marion, G., Swain, D. L., & Hutchings, M. R. (2010). Effects of group composition on the grazing behaviour of herbivores. Animal Behaviour, 80(3), 527–534
  • Coltherd, J. C., Morgan, C., Judge, J., Smith, L. A., & Hutchings, M. R. (2010). The effects of parasitism on recapture rates of wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus ). Wildlife Research, 37, 413–417
  • Smith, L. A., Marion, G., Swain, D. L., White, P. C. L., & Hutchings, M. R. (2009). Inter- and intra-specific exposure to parasites and pathogens via the faecal – oral route: a consequence of behaviour in a patchy environment. Epidemiology and Infection, 137, 630–643
  • Smith, L. A., Marion, G., Swain, D. L., White, P. C. L., & Hutchings, M. R. (2009). The effect of grazing management on livestock exposure to parasites via the faecal-oral route. Preventive veterinary medicine, 91, 95–106
  • Smith, L. A., White, P. C. L., Marion, G., & Hutchings, M. R. (2009). Livestock grazing behavior and inter- versus intraspecific disease risk via the fecal-oral route. Behavioral Ecology, 20, 426–432
  • Marion, G., Smith, L. A., Swain, D. L., Davidson, R. S., & Hutchings, M. R. (2008). Agent-based modelling of foraging behaviour: the impact of spatial heterogeneity on disease risks from faeces in grazing systems. The Journal of Agricultural Science, 146, 507–520
  • Böhm, M., White, P. C. L., Chambers, J., Smith, L. A., & Hutchings, M. R. (2007). Wild deer as a source of infection for livestock and humans in the UK. The Veterinary journal , 174, 260–76
  • Smith, L. A., White, P. C. L., & Hutchings, M. R. (2006). Effect of the nutritional environment and reproductive investment on herbivore-parasite interactions in grazing environments. Behavioral Ecology, 17, 591–596
  • Carpenter, S., Eyres, K., McEndrick, I., Smith, L. A., Turner, J., Mordue, W., & Mordue (Luntz), A. J. (2005). Repellent efficiency of BayRepel against Culicoides impunctatus (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Parasitology Research, 95, 427–429
  • Cockram, M. S., Baxter, E. M., Smith, L. A., Bell, S., Howard, C. M., Prescott, R. J., & Mitchell, M. A. (2004). Effect of driver behaviour, driving events and road type on the stability and resting behaviour of sheep in transit. Animal Science, 79, 165–176

Dr Lesley Smith


Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG

Telephone: 0131 651 9352

Fax: 0131 535 3121

E-mail: lesley.smith@sruc.ac.uk