Seth Davis

Seth Davis
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher
  • University of Idaho
  • Plant, Soil, and Entomological Sciences


Sanford Eigenbrode

Research Focus: 

The chemical and microbial of plant-insect interactions

Research Abstract: 

I am investigating how environmentally mediated ecological switches drive disease dynamics in cropping systems, with efforts aimed at developing ecological models to describe how context dependent pathogen-vector-host interactions promote pathogen retention on the landscape. I employ behavioral ecology and plant physiology approaches to investigate how aphid-vectored viruses mediate the response of plants to environmental stress. I have developed tractable methods for asking novel questions about the ecological drivers of pathogenesis, discovering that the consequences of virus infection for host plants span the pathogen-mutualism continuum relative to water availability. I am especially interested in elucidating the pathways by which elevated environmental stress may drive the origin of mutualistic interactions in pathosystems. Ongoing hypothesis testing is aimed at identifying an inheritable biochemical basis underlying plant responses to water availability-virus interactions in greenhouse and common garden experiments.


I am an experimental ecologist who works on basic and applied questions in community, population, and behavioral ecology. I enjoy outdoor recreation activities like hiking, backpacking, both cross-and-back country skiing, and playing ice hockey. I also participate in an underground basketball league whose games decide the outcome of world policy.

Publications and Presentations: 

Davis, S., Bosque-Perez, N., Foote, N., Magney, T., Eigenbrode, S. 2015. Environmentally dependent host-pathogen and vector-pathogen interactions in the Barley yellow dwarf virus pathosystem. Journal of Applied Ecology. 52(5): 1392-1401.
Ying, W., Davis, T., Eigenbrode. S. 2014. Aphid behavioral responses to virus-infected plants are similar despite divergent fitness effects. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 153(3): 246-255.
Davis, T., Abatzoglou, J., Bosque-Perez, N., Halbert, S., Pike, K., Eigenbrode, S. 2014. Differing contributions of density dependence and climate to the population dynamics of three eruptive herbivores. Ecological Entomology. 39(5): 566-577.
Davis, T., Bosque-Perez, N., Popova, I., Eigenbrode, S. 2015. Evidence for additive effects of virus infection and water availability on phytohormone induction in a staple crop. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 3: 114.
Davis, T., Wu. Y., Eigenbrode, S. 2014. Host settling behavior, reproductive peformance, and effects on plant growth of an exotic cereal aphid, metopholophium festucae subsp. Cerealium (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Environmental Entomology. 43(3): 682-688.
Eigenbrode, S., Davis, S., Crowder, D., Bjorkman, C., Niemela, P. 2015. Climate change and biological control in agricultural systems: priniples and examples from North America. Pages 119-134 in C. Bjorkman and P. Niemela editors. Climate change and insect pests. CABI.
Davis, T., Wu, Y. Eigenbrode, S. 2017. The effects of bean leafroll virus on life history traits and host selection behavior of specialized pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum, Hemiptera: Aphididae) Genotypes. Environmental Entomology. DOI:
Eigenbrode, S., Davis, T., Adams, J., Husebye, D., Waits, L., Hawthorne D. 2016. Host-adapted aphid poulations differ in their migratory patterns and capacity to colonize crops. Journal of Applied Ecology. 53: 1382-1390.
Davis, T., Wu, Y., Eigenbrode, S. 2015. Chickpea variety and phenology affect acquisition of pea enation mosaic virus, subsequent plant injury and aphid vector performance. Annals of Applied Biology. 167(3): 420-425.