From root function to rhizosphere communities (and back again);

how plant growth is altered by microbes,

how microbial communities are affected by plants.



The Rhizosphere Group led by Prof Phil Poole and Prof Liam Dolan FRS at the University of Oxford (Plant Sciences) studies the development of plant roots and their relationships with microbes. The rhizosphere, a narrow region of soil surrounding roots is critical for plant-microbe interactions and, as a consequence, nutrient cycling, plant growth and resistance of plants to disease.

Research is in three major themes

  1. Nitrogen fixation by bacteria in legume root nodules – a highly-specific symbiotic interaction between bacteria and plants leading to the crucially important biological fixation of nitrogen (led by Phil Poole)
  2. Root development (led by Liam Dolan)
  3. Rhizosphere biology – investigating how plant roots affect microbial colonisation and the rhizosphere’s microbial community (Poole & Dolan)
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