Microbial Ecology

Forum uniting people who study and work in microbial ecology


Co-secretaries: Rachael Antwis and Xavier Harrison
Email: microbial@britishecologicalsociety.org
Twitter: @BES_Microbial



The field of microbial ecology spans many disciplines and research areas, and plays a crucial role in shaping our world. Microorganisms are increasingly being recognised as key mediators of ecological processes at all levels of organisation, influencing the health and fitness of individuals as well as driving the stability of ecosystems, and as such is one of the fastest growing fields of ecology.

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To find out about the latest microbial ecology research, news, events, jobs and training opportunities, please email us.



  • Guide the synthesis of research investigating the role of microbes in organismal and ecosystem function, achieved through regular meetings and workshops.
  • Disseminate the importance of microbial ecology to a wider audience via public engagement events.
  • Engage with researchers working in the field of microbial ecology via a monthly blog written by guest contributors and an online discussion forum.


Meetings and Events

Pint of Science

We are joining up with the annual Pint of Science festival to host a set of informal talks in the pub! On Wednesday 17 May, we will hold simultaneous events across the UK: Edinburgh, Manchester, Cambridge and Birmingham, with a microbial ecology theme. We will hear from guest speakers from local universities, covering diverse topics such as bioremediation of oil spills and nuclear waste, microbial communities in the Antarctic, antimicrobial resistance, and bacterial infections of chicken farms! And of course, there will also be a microbe-themed quiz! Tickets on sale in April from the Pint of Science website.

Microbial Ecology Methods Workshop

This workshop is for postgrad or early career researchers to learn how to analyse large datasets associated with microbial ecology studies. This event will be run in conjunction with the Quantitative Ecology SIG in Cambridge in July 2017. More details to follow!

Joint SIG Conference: “Microbial Pathogens of Plants and Animals”

This conference is a collaboration between the Microbial Ecology SIG; Plants, Soils, Ecosystems SIG; and the Parasites and Pathogens SIG. We will have a host of talks looking at interactions between microbial pathogens and host organisms. This will be at Charles Darwin House in London in November 2017. It is hoped that this will lay the foundation for a grant writing workshop in early 2018.




Co-secretary: Dr. Rachael Antwis, Lecturer in Global Ecology and Conservation, University of Salford
Co-secretary: Dr. Xavier Harrison, Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology
Communications Rep: Nim Kibbler, Undergraduate Student, Scotland’s Rural College
Events Rep: Sarah Griffiths, PhD Candidate, Manchester Metropolitan University
Student Rep: Chloé Orland, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
Student Rep: Andrew Devaynes, PhD Candidate, Edge Hill University
Early Careers Rep: Dr. Kristian Forbes, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki