About the Author
I am a soil ecologist, convinced that soil is the most remarkable, complex and fascinating material on the planet.... as well as absolutely fundamental to our past and future civilisations. I graduated in Agricultural Botany from the University of Reading in 1981, and completed a PhD in grassland ecology at the University of Bristol in 1984, then moving to Scotland to lead research programmes in Government Institutes in Aberdeen and Dundee. Since 2002, I have held a Personal Chair in Soil Biology at Cranfield University. My research interests focus on developing a mechanistic understanding of the origins and functional consequences of the compositional and spatial organisation of soil communities. This work underpins the development of frameworks for understanding factors that regulate the activity of life belowground, systems to manage the biota appropriately, and incisive procedures for assessing and monitoring soil health. I have a portfolio of over 100 research papers and several hundred other outputs. I am a Chief Editor of the high-ranking journal, Soil Biology Biochemistry and have held long-standing editorial roles with FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Mycological Research and the Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, as well as editing the books 'Beyond the Biomass', 'Criminal and Environmental Soil Forensics', and most recently 'Architecture and Biology of Soils'. Hence one of my key concepts is that of soil architecture, and my work on visualising soil systems across a wide range of spatial scales has revealed many new insights into how life belowground is spatially organised, the functional consequences of this for the earth system, and how we might then manage the crucial soil resource more effectively and sustainably.