Thorunn Helgason

Chair in Ecology, Head of School

  • School of Biological Sciences

Contact details



School of Biological Sciences
Peter Wilson Building, Room G.123
The King’s Buildings
Nicholas Kemmer Road

Post code


Microbes are key functional groups in ecosystems, acting as a drivers of major transitions in nutrient cycles. My research focuses on variation in biodiversity, distribution and function of key microbial groups in field based systems, especially in soils and in plants. Recent advances in next generation sequencing technologies allow the microbiome of field systems to be studied in detail, and my research has recently involved agricultural systems, tropical forests, and insect microbiomes

A major research area of mine focusses on the Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF). These symbionts are key conduits of mineral nutrients between plants and soils, and variation in AMF communities has the potential to affect large scale ecosystem function. My research focuses on determining what controls AM fungal biodiversity, including host plant effects, water and oxygen availability, and soil environment, and how these factors affect fungal fitness and evolution. We study this using manipulative field experiments, molecular and bioinformatic approaches

Responsibilities & affiliations

Trustee (Elected) British Ecological Society


Open to PhD supervision enquiries?