Dr Ben Parker

Research Associate

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Email: benjamin.parker@zoo.ox.ac.uk
Address: Room E5,
Department of Zoology,
The Tinbergen Building,
South Parks Road,
Oxford, OX1 3PS


My research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of host-microbe associations. Specifically, I’m interested in understanding the forces shaping associations between invertebrates and beneficial symbionts. I’m currently studying the interactions between pea aphids, their symbiotic bacteria, and natural fungal pathogens. Combining lab experiments with immunological assays and sequencing, I’m working to determine 1) how protective symbionts alter the aphid’s own immune response to pathogen infection, and 2) how selection from pathogens has shaped aphid-symbiont associations. I completed my PhD at Emory University in 2013, and then moved to Oxford on a US NSF postdoctoral fellowship from 2013-2015.

Selected Publications:

Gerardo, N.M., & Parker, B.J., (2014) Mechanisms of symbiont-conferred protection against natural enemies: an ecological and evolutionary framework. Current Opinion in Insect Science, 4:8-14.

Parker, B.J., Garcia, J.R., & Gerardo, N.M. (2014) Genetic variation in resistance and fecundity tolerance in a natural host–pathogen interaction. Evolution. 68(8): 2421-2429.

Garcia, J.R., Laughton, A.M., Malik, Z., Parker, B.J., Trincot, C., Chiang, S., Chung, E., & Gerardo, N.M. (2014) Partner associations across sympatric broad-headed bug species and their environmentally acquired bacterial symbionts. Molecular Ecology 23(6): 1333-1347.

Barribeau, S.M.,* Parker, B.J.,* & Gerardo, N.M. (2013) Exposure to natural pathogens reveals costly aphid response to fungi but not bacteria. Ecology and Evolution. 4(4): doi:10.1002/ece3.892. *Co-first authors.

ter Braak, B., Laughton, A.M., Altincicek, B., Parker, B.J., Gerardo, N.M. (2013) Exposure to bacterial signals does not alter pea aphids’ survival upon a second challenge or investment in production of winged offspring. PLoS One 8(8): e73600.

Parker, B.J., Spragg, C.J., Altincicek, B., & Gerardo, N.M. (2013) Symbiont-mediated protection against fungal pathogens in pea aphids: a role for pathogen specificity? Applied and Environmental Microbiology 79(7): 2455-2458.

Parker, B.J., Barribeau, S.M., Laughton, A.M., de Roode, J.C., and Gerardo, N.M. (2011) Non-immunological defense in an evolutionary framework. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 26(5): 242-248.

Gerardo, N.M., Altincicek, B., Anselme, C., Atamian, H., Barribeau, S.M., de Vos, M., Duncan, E.J., Evans, J.D., Gabaldón, T., Ghanim, M., Heddi, A., Kaloshian, I., Latorre, A., Moya, A., Nakabachi, A., Parker, B.J., Pérez-Brocal, V., Pignatelli, M., Rahbé, Y., Ramsey, J.S., Spragg, C.J., Tamames, J.S., Tamarit, D., Tamborindeguy, C., Vincent–Monegat, C., and Vilcinskas, A. (2010) Immunity and other defenses in pea aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum. Genome Biology 11(2): R21.

The International Aphid Genomics Consortium. (2010) Genome Sequence of the Pea Aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum.PLoS Biology 8(2): e1000313.

Parker, B.J., Elderd, B.D. and Dwyer, G. (2010) Host behaviour and exposure risk in an insect–pathogen interaction.Journal of Animal Ecology 79(4): 863-870.