Skip to navigation Skip to content

Tim Daniell

Staff picture: Tim Daniell
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Honorary Associate
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK


Currently a Honorary Associate of the Ecological Sciences programme at the James Hutton Institute and an honorary lecturer at Dundee University teaching Microbial Ecology, I have held postdoctoral positions at York, Lancaster and Durham Universities after completing a PhD at Warwick University and degree at Nottingham University.

Current research interests

  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal ecology
    For many years I have been involved in mycorrhizal ecology focussing on the dynamics of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. I have been heavily involved in the development of the application of molecular methods to improve understanding of community dynamics of this key fungal group resulting in the publication of a number of high impact papers. Work has focussed on the impact of arable farming on AM fungi with published work highlighting the depauperate nature of the group under conventional farming. Additionally work in grasslands discovered both host preference and links to bacterial communities and recent work in a boreal system, through collaboration with the University of Tartu including Maarja Öpik, uncovered an unexpected high richness in AM fungi, linked community structure to functional differences and identified a link between community structure and plant functional group. Current projects include: work primarily by Jane Davidson further exploring community dynamics in arable systems, a PhD student, Alex van den Bos, co supervised by Alison Bennett and Dave Johnson (University of Aberdeen) exploring the effect of tillage on AM fungi community structure and function and work with Alison Bennett and Sandra Caul exploring the role of plant breeding in reducing crop response to AM fungi.
  • Microbial nitrogen cycling
    Since appointment at the Institute I have been involved in the area of microbial nitrogen cycling in soil. This work area has recently been expanded mainly through an active collaboration with Liz Baggs at Aberdeen). This collaboration has taken the form of joint studentships funded either through NERC CASE or the Institute/University joint scheme. Miriam Herold undertook a project examining the relative role of fungal and bacterial denitrification in arable systems mainly utilising a long term pH gradient at SAC Craibstone. Maddy Giles is exploring the role of rhizodeposition in driving denitrification using artificial root systems. Marcin Skiba, who is also jointly supervised by Tim George, is undertaking a project examining the mechanisms lying behind variation in biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) observed between barley cultivars. Other work in this area, undertaken primarily by Susan Mitchell, is exploring the differences in nitrous oxide emission observed between different barley lines that may provide breeding targets to aid reduced arable farming environmental impacts.
  • Free-living nematode dynamics
    Nematodes provide an opportunity to understand the soil food web since they are a keystone group with representation at most trophic levels within the soil food web. For this reason free living nematodes have often been suggested as an ideal group for the estimation of soil health although issues associated with sample processing due to time consuming traditional identification have often limited application. A student at the Institute, Suzanne Donn, funded by the BBSRC and supervised jointly with Roy Neilson and Bryan Griffiths (currently at SAC Edinburgh) developed and tested a molecular method based on terminal restriction length polymorphism (T-RFLP). This method allows a massive increase in the numbers of samples that can be analysed which will allow the application of nematode community dynamics to be considered as an indicator of soil health for monitoring purposes. The methodology has been tested in other systems as part of joint student projects undertaken by Xiaoyun Chen, in Ireland also supervised by Bryan Griffiths, Roy Neilson and Vincent O’Flaherty (UNI Galway), and Stefanie Vink on the Machair of the Western Isles (supervised jointly with Roy Neilson and David Robinson, University of Aberdeen). Recently we have undertaken a project, employing Lea Wiesel, exploring spatial structure in a sand dune system to further test and develop the methodology.
  • EnPrint
    The intransigent nature of soil ecology driven largely by the lack of culturability and high diversity of the associated microbial community has driven a reliance on molecular methodology. These tools have been developed to be robust in relation to co-extracted inhibitors and provide the high throughput of samples required to allow the testing of ecological hypotheses. These tools have other applications that are being exploited through the spin out company EnPrint. Recent developments include a project co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board and Scottish Water to quantify and identify Cryptosporidium species in regulatory water samples.


Scientific Posters / Conferences

File Diversity of the nitrite reductase (NirK) gene in an upland pasture system 96.27 KB
File Spatial linkage between NirK diversity and denitrification activity in three arable fields 617.64 KB
File Nitrifiers in Space and Time 261.43 KB
File Molecular analysis of soil nematode communities 488.64 KB
File Can AM Fungi Recolonise Arable Fields from Refugia? 568.51 KB
File Diversity Patterns of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in Forest Understorey Plants 117.3 KB
File Genetic fingerprinting for environmental quality 1.1 MB
File Viruses in Soil 494.3 KB
File Functional Soil Ecology and Conservation of Machair in relation to Changing Land Management 238.39 KB
File Functional Soil Ecology and Conservation of Machair in relation to Changing Land Management 162.85 KB
File How different successional stages of Abies pinsapo Boiss. fir forest affect understory and soil microbial diversity 341.92 KB
File Fungal denitrification in arable soil 205.8 KB
File Using molecular techniques to characterise and quantify the eubacteria associated with the Cabbage Aphid (Brevicoryne brassicae) 717.18 KB
File Resilience of soil microbial communities: relationships between land use microbial functional group and applied stress 1.14 MB
File T-RFLP analysis of nematode assemblages 401.11 KB
File T-RFLP analysis of nematode assemblages 390.33 KB
File Virus-like particles from Antarctic dry valley soil 915.72 KB
File Preliminary selection of phosphate solubilising plant growth promoting microorganisms 561.85 KB
File Above and below ground responses to the Machair agricultural system 431.76 KB
File The effect of moisture and plant communities on the mycorrhizal community structure in a low input agricultural system 458.98 KB
File High-throughput sequencing of soil nematode communities for ecological research 257.85 KB
File Where does denitrification occur in the rhizosphere? 249.44 KB
File Effects of pH and disturbance on nitrous oxide emission from arable soil - a role for fungal denitrification? 616.72 KB
File The rheology of rhizosphere formation by root exudates and soil microbes
193.84 KB
File Biological Nitrification Inhibition (BNI) in arable plants – a potential for reducing nitrogen losses from agriculture
90.3 KB

Printed from /staff/tim-daniell on 04/06/23 09:39:19 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.