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

Integrating Knowledge and Approaches Across Biomes: 19 September

Given that all multicellular organisms support a microbiome, this complex metagenome has the potential to unite organismal, evolutionary and ecological biologists. As more biologists become interested in the function and influence of the microbiome, there is significant potential for knowledge exchange between researchers working in this area. The aim of this one-day meeting we are jointly hosting with the Microbiology Society and the Society for Applied Microbiology, is to discuss approaches and findings from across a broad suite of environments and hosts. Find out more and to book your place.

Past Events:

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.

Grant Writing Retreat

This three day workshop, in association with our Agricultural Special Interest Group, will provide attendees with the opportunity to discuss and develop ecological research bids. For more information on this brilliant workshop, see our events page.


  • 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