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LeBrun, Ed

Edward G Lebrun

Research Scientist
Department of Integrative Biology


Office Location

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Ph.D.    Ecology and Evolution, University of Utah, Department of Biology.

B.A.      Biology, Carleton College, Minnesota.

Natural history and species interactions have always been the touchstone of my professional life.  I focus on the ecology of invasive ant species and their natural enemies.  My research attempts to bridge the gap between basic and applied research in invasion biology.  Comparative ecology is one of the most powerful approaches in invasive species research, so I work in both the South American, native and North American, introduced ranges of these invaders.  My goals are to advance basic science and to use the insights garnered to pursue sustainable control of invasive ants impacting native ecosystems.  Currently my focus is investigating the biology, ecology, and biological control of tawny crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva).  Based out of the Invasive Species Laboratory at the University of Texas, I also contribute to research efforts on the biology and ecology of imported fire ants and their phorid fly parasitoids, as well as efforts to import and establish these parasitoids in Texas.  This organismal systems perspective has pushed my research into a variety of fields including community, behavioral, population, and chemical ecology as well as invertebrate pathology. 

2019  LeBrun, E.G., R.M. Plowes, P.J. Folgarait, M. Bollazzi, and L.E. Gilbert. Ritualized aggressive            behavior reveals distinct social structures in native and introduced range tawny crazy ants.  PLoS    ONE 14(11): e0225597. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225597

2017  LeBrun, E.G., K. Ottens, L.E. Gilbert. The microsporidian pathogen Myrmecomorba nylanderiae Intracolony transmission and impact upon tawny crazy ant (Nylanderia fulva) colonies. Journal of Applied Entomology. 142: 114-124.

2017  Hu,Y., DA Holway, P.Ł. Ukasik, L. Chau, AD Kay, E.G. LeBrun, K.A. Miller, J.G. Sanders, A.V. Suarez   and J.A. Russell.  By their own devices: invasive Argentine ants have shifted diet without           clear     aid from symbiotic microbes. Molecular Ecology, 26: 1608–1630.

2015  LeBrun, E.G., P.J. Diebold, M.R. Orr, L.E. Gilbert. Widespread chemical detoxification of alkaloid venom by formicine ants. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 41(10): 884-895.

2015  Kumar S, E.G. LeBrun, T.J. Stohlgren, J.A. Stabach, D.L. McDonald, D.H. Oi, J.S. LaPolla. Evidence of niche shift and global invasion potential of the tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva. Ecology and Evolution, 5(20): 4628-4641

2015  Plowes, R.M., J.J. Becnel, E.G. LeBrun, D.H. Oi, S.M. Valles, N.T. Jones, and L.E. Gilbert. Myrmecomorba nylanderiae gen. et sp. nov., a microsporidian parasite of the tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulvaJournal of Invertebrate Pathology, 129: 45-56

2014  LeBrun, E.G., N.T. Jones, L.E. Gilbert. Chemical warfare among invaders: detoxification interaction facilitates an ant invasion. Science, 343: 1014-1017.

2013  LeBrun, E.G., J.C. Abbott, and L.E. Gilbert. Imported crazy ant extirpates imported fire ant, reduces and homogenizes grassland ant and arthropod assemblages.  Biological Invasions, 15: 2429-2442.

2012  LeBrun, E.G., R.M. Plowes, and L.E. Gilbert. Imported fire ants near the edge of their range: disturbance and moisture determine prevalence and impact of an invasive social insect.  Journal of Animal Ecology, 81(4): 884-895.

2011  Wilder, S.M., D.A. Holway, A.V. Suarez, E.G. LeBrun, and M.D. Eubanks. Intercontinental differences in resource use reveal the importance of mutualisms in fire ant invasions.  PNAS, 108 (51): 20639-20644.

2011  Plowes, R.M., LeBrun, E.G. & Gilbert, L.E.  Introduction of the fire ant decapitating fly Pseudacteon obtusus in the United States: factors influencing establishment in Texas. Biocontrol, 56: 295-304.

2011  LeBrun, E.G., Moffett, M. & Holway, D.A. Convergent evolution of levee building behavior among distantly related ant species in a floodplain ant assemblage. Insectes Sociaux, 58: 263-269.

2010  Ascunce, M.S., Valles, S.M., Oi, D.H., Shoemaker, D., Plowes, R., Gilbert, L., LeBrun, E.G., Sanchez-Arroyo, H. & Sanchez-Pena, S. Molecular diversity of the microsporidium Kneallhazia solenopsae reveals an expanded host range among fire ants in North America. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 105: 279-288.

2010  Brown, B.V. and E.G. LeBrun.  Ant-decapitating flies, Apocephalus, subgenus Apocephalus Coquillett (Insecta: Diptera: Phoridae), of Arizona.  Contributions in Science, 519: 1-24.

2010  Krushelnycky, P., E.G. LeBrun, and D.A. Holway. Invasion Processes and Causes of Success. Ch: 14. In: Ant Ecology.  (Ed: L. Lach, C. Parr, and K. Abbott.) Oxford University Press.

2010  LeBrun, E.G.  (2010).  The ecological consequences of co-operative behavior among workers from different nests.  Box 14.1.  In: Ant Ecology.  (Ed: L. Lach, C. Parr, and K. Abbott.) Oxford University Press.

2009  LeBrun, E.G., R. Plowes, and L.E. Gilbert.  Indirect competition facilitates widespread displacement of one naturalized parasitoid of imported fire ants (Diptera: Phoridae: Pseudacteon) by another. Ecology, 90 (5): 1184-1194.

2009  Plowes, R.M., E.G. LeBrun, B.V. Brown, and L.E. Gilbert. A review of Pseudacteon (Diptera: Phoridae) that parasitize ants of the Solenopsis geminata complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).  Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 102 (6): 937-958.

2008  Gilbert, L.E., C. L. Barr, A.A. Calixto, J.L. Cook, B. M. Drees, E.G. LeBrun, R.J.W. Patrock, R.M. Plowes, S.D. Porter, and R.T. Puckett. Introducing phorid fly parasitoids of Red Imported Fire Ant workers from South America to Texas:  Outcomes vary by region and by Pseudacteon species released. Southwestern Entomologist, 33 (1): 15-29.

2008  LeBrun, E.G., R. Plowes, and L.E. Gilbert. (2008) Dynamic expansion in a recently introduced population of fire ant parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae).  Biological Invasions: 10: 989-999.

2007  Tillberg, C.V., D.A. Holway, E.G. LeBrun and A.V. Suarez.  Invasive ants alter food webs and decrease diversity.  PNAS, 104 (52): 20856-20861.

2007  LeBrun, E.G., C.V. Tillberg, A.V. Suarez, P.J. Folgarait, Chris R. Smith, and D.A. Holway. An experimental study of competitive interactions between red imported fire ants and Argentine ants in a region of native-range sympatry.  Ecology, 88(1):63-75.

2007  Adler, F.A., E.G. LeBrun, and D.H. Feener Jr.  Maintaining diversity in an ant community: Modeling, extending, and testing the dominance-discovery tradeoff.  The American Naturalist, 169: 323-333.

2007  LeBrun, E.G., and D.H. Feener Jr.  When trade-offs interact: Balance of terror enforces dominance discovery trade-off in a local ant assemblage.  Journal of Animal Ecology, 76: 58-64.

2005  LeBrun, E.G.  Who’s the top dog in ant communities: resources, parasitoids, and multiple competitive hierarchies.  Oecologia, 142: 643-652.

2005  Wilkinson, E.B., E.G. LeBrun, M.L. Spencer, C. Whitby, and C. Klein. Short-term effects of fire on sky island ant communities.  In: Connecting mountain islands and desert seas: Biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago II.  USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-36.

2002  LeBrun, E.G., and D.H. Feener Jr.  Linked indirect effects in ant-phorid interactions: impacts on ant assemblage structure.  Oecologia, 133: 599-607.

2001  McKone, M.J., K.K. McLauchlan, E.G. LeBrun, and A.C. McCall.  An edge effect caused by adult corn-rootworm beetles on sunflowers in tallgrass prairie remnants. Conservation Biology, 15 (5): 1315-1324.

1998  Cutraro, J.L., A.Y. Ercelawn, E.G. LeBrun, E.W. Lonsdorf, H.A. Norton, and M.J. McKone. Importance of pollen and nectar in flower choice by hummingbird flower mites, Proctolaelaps kirmsei (Megostigmata: Ascidae).  International Journal of Acarology, 24 (4): 345-351.