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

Irene Cordero – personal profile

I am postdoc researcher in the lab, with Richard Bardgett as supervisor. Here I work in a project entitled “Resistance and resilience of soil microbial communities under intense land use and extreme drought: consequences for ecosystem functioning”. The main objective of this project is to evaluate how changes in the diversity and composition of soil microbial communities (bacteria and fungi) impacts their ability to withstand and recover from repeated perturbations, and understand the consequences of this for ecosystem functioning (nutrient cycling, greenhouse gasses emission, carbon storage, etc.). This project is funded by the “Ramón Areces Foundation”.

Previously I carried out my PhD in the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) and The University Complutense of Madrid in the different determinants for forest regeneration and the potential use of beneficial soil microorganisms for ecological restoration in the Atiquipa Forest of Peru. I evaluated the effect on the main tree species of forest management, abiotic conditions (drought and light stress) and biotic relationships (soil microorganisms).


Irene Cordero – personal profile