Mathilde Chomel – personal profile

I am a soil ecologist with a particular interest on the interactions between plant and soil communities to understand their consequences for ecosystem functioning, and their response to global change. My main research goal is a mechanistic understanding of the drivers of biogeochemical cycles using experimental approaches in the field and the laboratory. I develop multidisciplinary approach with a particular interest on i) the litter decomposition process, ii) the soil food web structure and iii) the relation between plant chemistry and soil communities. I am actually a Postdoctoral Research Associate investigating the stability of the soil system in the face of land use and climate change, as part of the NERC Soil Security Programme.

Researchgate profile


Sept 2015 – Aug 2018 Post Doctoral Research Associate, University of Aberdeen. NERC/BBSRC Soil Security Program “Controls on the stability of soils and their functioning under land use and climate change” (D. Johnson and R. Bardgett)

Sept 2013 – Aug 2015 Temporary assistant professor (ATER), Aix-Marseille University, Mediterranean Institute of Biodiversity and ecology (IMBE). Teaching in ecology, plant biology, biostatistics and soil sciences (Licence and Master level)

May 2010 – Nov 2014 PhD – IMBE and Forest Research Institute (IRF, Quebec) – «Mixing hybrid poplar and white spruce in plantations: impact on the litter decomposition process and carbon storage» (V. Baldy, A. DesRochers, M. Larchevêque)

Sept. 2009 – March 2010 Internship in functional ecology – IMBE – «How Pinus halepensis secondary metabolism affect litter decomposition process after colonization on wasteland». (V. Baldy)

2009 MSc. – IMBE – « Fate of secondary metabolites contain in Pinus halepensis litter and impact on decomposers during decomposition in Provence region». (V. Baldy and C. Fernandez)

 Mathilde Chomel
Mathilde Chomel – personal profile

Holly Langridge – personal profile

I work as a research technician on the BBSRC funding project “The root to stability – the role of plant roots in ecosystem response to climate change”. Within this role, I provide technical support for research in the laboratory, glasshouses and at field sites across the Yorkshire Dales. To satisfy the project aims of understanding how root exudates affect the structure and microbial activity in the surrounding soil, and how this changes during drought and warming, I carry out soil extractions, root scanning, and machine analysis. In particular, I am interested in the wider implications for climate change mitigation in agriculture and conservation.

I studied BSc Ecology and Conservation, and MSc Conservation Biology at university, with previous research in small mammals and woodland dynamics.

Holly lab pic
Holly Langridge – personal profile

Reuben Margerison – personal profile

I am a BBSRC-funded doctoral researcher here at The University of Manchester. My research interests are plant genomics, metabolomics, and physiology, as well as plant-microbe interactions. My PhD work is focused on specifically how root exudation is controlled by both the plant and the environment.

I am interested in how plant roots control their exudation, as this has far-reaching implications for global food security and ecosystem functioning. I strive to understand how these functions are controlled by plants, and how these exudates influence the soil microbial community. My work to identify at the genetic and molecular levels how plants regulate their root exudates under changing climatic conditions uses both the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the agricultural crop Barley (Hordeum vulgare), and involves DNA and RNA sequencing, and metabolite annotation using MS-based techniques.

I am also based in the Laboratory of Bioanalytical Spectroscopy at Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, and have recently taken an internship at the University of Tokyo.

Prior to starting at The University of Manchester, I completed my undergraduate degree at Imperial College London, with a project on the effect of melatonin on plant root organ regeneration in the Laboratory of Plant Morphogenesis. I achieved my Master of Research degree at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology, where I studied the effect of climate change on plant-microbe interactions.


Reuben Margerison – personal profile

Rosemary Cooper – personal profile

I am a NERC funded PhD student and am looking at how we can reduce the effect of climate change by building soil carbon through the improvement of grassland diversity. Research has shown that restoring grassland diversity increases both soil health and soil carbon storage, however little is known regarding the mechanisms behind this process. Therefore I am particularly interested in how grassland restoration influences the amount and quality of organic matter entering soil, and the microbial processes involved in its breakdown and stabilization.
Prior to this I completed a BSc in biology at Swansea University and MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Leeds, where I investigated methods of monitoring the decline of pollinator populations.



Rosemary Cooper – personal profile

Christopher Sweeney – personal profile

I completed my BSc in Biology at the University of Manchester in 2014 before moving on to an MRes course in Ecology and Environment at the University of Sheffield, graduating in August 2016.

I am currently undertaking a BBSRC funded PhD studentship studying the role of root functional traits in moderating soil organic matter dynamics in grassland soils.  Using trait based approaches I hope to further the understanding of how variation in root trait syndromes among grassland species can drive changes in organic matter formation, composition and degradation.  The overall goal of this project is to generate data that will be used to develop a trait-based framework for predicting how changes in plant community composition can alter the potential for carbon storage within soils.

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Christopher Sweeney – personal profile

Jonathan De Long; personal profile

I am investigating how above- and below ground plant functional trait diversity affects green house gas emissions, litter decomposition and plant-soil feedbacks in managed semi-natural grasslands near Selside, England.

I recently finished my PhD at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå, Sweden. My research focused primarily on plant and soil community responses to climate change along environmental gradients. Two of my thesis chapters were based on research from along a subarctic elevational gradient near Abisko, Sweden, where I conducted research examining the abiotic and biotic soil drivers of plant growth and the response of plant defence compounds to nutrient addition and elevation. My other two chapters involved a post-fire successional chronosequence in the boreal forest near Arvidsjaur, Sweden, where I looked at plant/soil community and decomposition/nutrient cycling responses to increased temperature and functional plant group manipulation.

My research interests include:

  • Abiotic/biotic controls of plant invasion
  • Plant-soil-climate feedbacks
  • Plant defence compounds
  • Plant-mycorrhizae interactions
  • Nematode-plant interactions
  • Environmental gradients as drivers of plant & soil communities and processes
  • Plant traits as drivers of ecosystem processes

For more information, please visit my page here.



Jonathan De Long; personal profile