The Jiggins Lab Webpage

Ben Longdon

Research Interests

I have a broad interest in host-parasite ecology and evolution. My current interest focuses on how parasites switch between host species, what factors affect the ability of parasites to successfully host shift and how these may be important for the emergence of novel pathogens. I am also interested in the evolution and ecology of vertically transmitted parasites and how they spread through new host species or populations. I use insects and their natural viruses to examine these questions, in particular the Drosophila-sigma virus system.

Personal Website

Education and Employment

2012- Post-Doctoral Researcher, Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge and Junior Research Fellow at Christ's College

2007-2011 Graduate Student, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh

2003-2006 BSc Hons Biology University of Bristol

2007 Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, USGS Entomology Internship

Prizes and Awards

The Alfred Russell Wallace Award from the Royal Entomological Society (2012)

The Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize by The Genetics Society UK (2011)


Longdon B, Hadfield JD, Day JP, Smith SCL, McGonigle JE, Cogni R, Cao C and Jiggins FM (In Press). The causes and consequences of changes in virulence following pathogen host shifts PLOS Pathogens

Vrancken B, Lemey P, Rambaut A, Bedford T, Longdon B, Gunthard H, and Suchard M (2015) Simultaneously estimating evolutionary history and repeated traits phylogenetic signal: applications to viral and host phenotypic evolution Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 6(1): 67-82

Longdon B, Brockhurst MA, Russell CA, Welch JJ and Jiggins FM (2014). The Evolution and Genetics of Virus Host Shifts PLOS Pathogens 10(11): e1004395

Martinez J, Longdon B, Bauer S, Chan Y-S, Miller WJ, Bourtzis K, Teixeira L and Jiggins FM (2014). Symbionts commonly provide broad spectrum resistance to viruses in insects: a comparative analysis of Wolbachia strains PLOS Pathogens 10(9): e1004369

Longdon B, Cao C, Martinez J and Jiggins FM (2013). Previous exposure to an RNA virus does not protect against subsequent infection in Drosophila melanogaster PLOS One 8(9): e73833

Magwire MM, Fabian DK, Schweyen H, Cao C, Longdon B, Bayer F and Jiggins FM (2012). Genome-wide association studies reveal a simple genetic basis to resistance against naturally coevolving viruses in Drosophila PLOS Genetics 8(11): e1003057

Longdon B and Jiggins FM (2012) Viral endosymbionts of insects: do sigma viruses walk alone? (Review) Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 279:3889-3898

Longdon B, Wilfert L and Jiggins FM (2012) Invited book chapter: The Sigma viruses of Drosophila. In: Rhabdoviruses: Molecular Taxonomy, Evolution, Genomics, Ecology, Cytopathology and Control edited by Ralf Dietzgen and Ivan Kuzmin. Caister Academic Press.

Longdon B, Fabian DK, Hurst GDD and Jiggins FM (2012) Male-killing Wolbachia do not protect Drosophila bifasciata against viral infection BMC Microbiology 12(Suppl 1):S8

Longdon B, Hadfield JD, Webster CL, Obbard DJ, Jiggins FM (2011) Host phylogeny determines viral persistence and replication in novel hosts PLoS Pathogens 7(9):e1002260 (also see press coverage below)

Longdon B, Wilfert L, Osei-Poku J, Cagney H, Obbard DJ, Jiggins FM (2011) Host-switching by a vertically transmitted rhabdovirus in Drosophila Biology Letters 7(5):747-750

Wilfert L, Longdon B, Ferreira AGA, Bayer F, Jiggins FM (2011). Trypanosomatids are common and diverse parasites of Drosophila. Parasitology. 138(7): 858-865

Longdon B, Wilfert L, Obbard DJ, Jiggins FM (2011) Rhabdoviruses in two species of Drosophila: vertical transmission and a recent sweep Genetics 188: 141-150

Longdon B and Jiggins FM (2010). Quick Guide: Paternally transmitted parasites. Current Biology 2010 pR695

Longdon B, Obbard DJ and Jiggins FM (2010). Sigma viruses from three species of Drosophila form a major new clade in the rhabdovirus phylogeny. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 2010

Aleksiev AL, Longdon B, Christmas MJ, Sendova-Franks AB and Franks NR (2007). Individual choice of building material for nest construction by worker ants and the collective outcome for their colony. Animal Behaviour. 74 (3): 559-566

Aleksiev AL, Longdon B, Christmas MJ, Sendova-Franks AB and Franks NR (2007). Individual and collective choice: parallel prospecting and mining in ants. Naturwissenschaften. 95 (4):301-305


PDFs available on lab publications page. If you cannot access something please email me for a reprint

Google Scholar Citations

Researcher ID F-4132-2010

Press Coverage

My research has been featured on BBC TV, BBC Radio Scotland (live interview), BBC online, The Metro, The Scotsman, Science Daily, The Press Association, The Herald, Press and Journal, Edinburgh Evening News, BBSRC website, MSN news, Yahoo News, The West Australian, Rule of 6ix via blogs and National Public Radio (USA)