Professor David Johnson

Professor David Johnson

N8 AgriFood Chair The University of Manchester


I am currently the N8 Chair in Microbial Ecology at the University of Manchester, in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. I am a terrestrial ecologist with a particular interest in understanding how plants interact with the myriad organisms that live in soil, especially symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi, and the consequences of these interactions for biogeochemical cycles. My research falls under three main areas: i) how components of biodiversity (functional groups, species and genotype) regulate ecosystem functions such as greenhouse gas production and nutrient cycling, ii) the ecological and evolutionary implications of multi-trophic interactions, including those mediated below ground by mycorrhizal fungal networks, and above ground via vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores and seabirds, and iii) impacts of land-use, climate and environmental change on ecosystem processes. My work cuts across several scales, from genotypes to communities, and involves working in a diversity of environments to answer particular questions. For example, current research is concerned with tropical forests, boreal forest, extensive and intensive grassland, and cropping systems. To address many of my research questions, I use radio and stable isotope tracers both in the laboratory and the field, and take a reductionist approach to manipulate critical components of biodiversity. My current research activity is largely supported by ~12 active NERC and BBSRC grants.


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