Dr David Elliott

Position: Lecturer in Microbiology

College: College of Life & Natural Sciences

Department: Biosciences

Subject area: Biological Sciences

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I am a Lecturer in Microbiology with broad interests covering clinical, technological, environmental, and theoretical topics. I teach microbiology and my research is focused on understanding microbial communities in soil. These topics are all supported by current advances in molecular biology, especially high-throughput DNA sequencing and bio-informatics.

Teaching responsibilities

Module Leader for Microbiology, Evolution of Life, and Bio-innovation.

Research interests

My major interest is the study of microbial communities and their interactions with the environment. This is similar to how ecologists study plants and animals, but because microbes are tiny and invisible there are many more species so special techniques are needed. I try to find out why microbes live in particular places and what function they have there. This includes all sorts of environments including:

  • Medical situations – e.g. dental plaque and the skin
  • Biotechnology – e.g. wastewater treatment and cleaning up pollution (bioremediation)
  • The natural environment – e.g. soil and plant roots

Membership of professional bodies

Member of the British Ecological Society


BSc (Hons) Microbiology: First Class from the University of Manchester, with industrial experience at AstraZeneca / Marlow Foods

PhD Microbiology (Clinical Dentistry): From University College London (Eastman Dental Institute)

Recent publications

Journal papers

Brearley FQ, Elliott DR, Iribar A, Sen R (2016). Arbuscular mycorrhizal community structure on co-existing tropical legume trees in French Guiana. Plant and Soil.

Elliott DR, Caporn SJM, Nwaishi F, Nilsson RH, Sen R (2015). Bacterial and fungal communities in a degraded ombrotrophic peatland undergoing natural and managed re-vegetation. PLoS ONE.

Elliott DR, Thomas AD, Hoon SR, Sen R (2014). Niche partitioning of bacterial communities in biological crusts and soils under grasses, shrubs and trees in the Kalahari. Biodiversity and Conservation 23(7): 1709-1733.

Book chapters

Toubes-Rodrigo M, Cook SJ, Elliott D, Sen R (2016). Sampling and Describing Glacier Ice. In Geomorphological Techniques (Online Edition). Edited by Cook SJ, Clarke LE, Nield JM.

Thomas AD, Elliott DR, Griffith TNL, Mairs H (2015). Pastoralism and soil quality in the Kalahari. In Land-Use Change Impacts on Soil Processes. Edited by Brearley FQ, Thomas AD.

Please check my websiteGoogle Scholar and Researchgate for more publications and links to full text.

Recent conferences

Toubes-Rodrigo M, Cook S, Elliott D, Sen R (2016). Bacterial 16S diversity of basal ice, sediment, and the forefront of Svínafellsjökull glacier via isolation chips and classical culturing techniques. European Geosciences Union Annual Assembly. Vienna, Austria.

Welti N, Korrensalo A, Kerttula J, Maljanen M, Uljas S, Lohila A, Laine A, Vesala T, Elliott D, Tuittila E-S (2016). Temperature response of methane oxidation and production potentials in peatland ecosystems across Finland. European Geosciences Union Annual Assembly. Vienna, Austria.

Elliott DR, Caporn S, Nwaishi F, Nilsson RH, Borresen J, Sen R (2015). Bacterial and fungal representation and interactions in a former degraded upland peatland vegetation mosaic undergoing restoration. 6th World Conference on Ecological Restoration. Towards resilient ecosystems: Restoring the Urban, the Rural and the Wild. Manchester.

Elliott DR, Caporn SJM, Nwaishi F, Nilsson RH, Sen R (2015). Long-term effects of air pollution on microbial communities of moorland peat. Committee on Air Pollution Effects Research 41st anniversary symposium: Plant and Ecosystem Responses to Air Pollution. Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

Elliott DR, Caporn S, Nwaishi F, Nilsson RH, Sen R (2015). Microbial indicators of peatland degradation and restoration at Holme Moss. MoorLIFE Final Conference: An Integrated Approach to Upland Biodiversity Conservation. Dean Clough, Halifax, UK.

Elliott DR, Caporn S, Nwaishi F, Nilsson RH, Borresen J, Sen R (2014). Diverse mycorrhizal representation and bacterial-fungal interactions in an upland peatland vegetation mosaic undergoing restoration. 33rd New Phytologist Symposium. Networks of Power & Influence: ecology & evolution of symbioses between plants & mycorrhizal fungi. Zurich.

Please check my websiteGoogle Scholar and Researchgate for more publications and links to full text.

International experience

I worked for a year at the National University of Ireland in Galway as a Marie-Curie transfer of Knowledge research fellow. My environmental research in particular involves a lot of international collaboration, including fieldwork abroad.

I have conducted fieldwork for on-going projects in Australia, Botswana, and Iceland.

Current collaborations additionally support projects studying soil microbiology in Finland, Canada, and French Guiana.

In the media

Follow me on twitter @drelliott0net

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