Dr Lesley Smith

Scotland's Rural College

Research Interests

I am a behavioural ecologist with specific interests in how animal behaviour drives disease dynamics. My PhD investigated the effect of herbivore grazing decisions on exposure to parasites.

Since completion of my PhD I have applied my experimental design skills to a nutritional based post-doc working on the Defra LINK Green Pig project, investigating alternative protein sources for pig diets in order to improve food security.

I currently work on the EU funded WildTech project which aims to develop multiplex technologies for detection of pathogens in wildlife, and contribute to monitoring disease exposures in wild and domestic animal populations. My specific role in the project is epidemiological data analysis of WildTech results in order to demonstrate the potential of multiplex technologies.


  • 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

  • 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