Skip to navigation Skip to content

Eric Paterson

Staff picture: Eric Paterson
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Root Physiologist / Biochemist
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Eric is a soil microbiologist/ plant physiologist who has researched plant-soil interactions for more than 15 years. A theme of this research has been the impact of rhizodeposition (release of organic compounds from plant roots) on soil microbial communities and processes. This research has been applied across a range of land uses from agriculture to unmanaged systems. His research has been supported by Scottish Government, BBSRC, NERC, TEAGASC, British Council, INRA, Catalan Government and industrial partners. He has served as a Research Unit assessor for DFG (Germany) and as a PhD/MSc examiner in the UK, France and Denmark. He is a member of the British Society of Soil Science and is a Subject Editor for both Soil Biology & Biochemistry and Plant & Soil.

Current research interests

The research group has recently developed novel methodologies for continuous, steady-state 13CO2-labelling of plants that enable quantification of plant-derived C-fluxes to soil and to the various components of the soil biota (e.g. via compound-specific 13C-analysis of PLFA biomarkers). A key advantage of the continuous labelling approach is that isotopic mass balance can be applied to quantify turnover of soil organic matter in intact systems (i.e. including plants), such that the biological controls of soil organic matter mineralisation can be studied. A current research priority of the group is to investigate the interactions between plant-derived C-fluxes to soil and microbially mediated turnover of native soil organic matter. These interactions are being studied in the contexts of:

  1. the responses of soils to land use and environmental change (e.g. potential feedbacks to GHG-mediated climate forcing), and
  2. the sustainable productivity of agricultural systems (e.g. understanding the controls of productivity in low-input systems and optimising the use of organic amendments as fertiliser replacements).


Scientific posters/conferences

Printed from /staff/eric-paterson on 22/09/19 09:57:32 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.