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ian clark


Ian Clark

Molecular Microbiologist - Bioinformatician

Sustainable Soils and Crops

Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ
+44 (0) 1582 938 819
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Ian is a molecular microbiologist investigating the roles and interactions of soil microbial communities within agricultural systems, their effect on soil and crop health, yield decline and nutrient cycling. He has particular interests in the regulation of denitrification and nitrification within agricultural systems and the resilience of Ecosystem Services under perturbation and land use change. Ian has a wide range of expertise including setting up and running field trials; culturable and non-culturable techniques for examining bacteria, archaea, fungi and mesofauna; and extensive use of molecular methodologies. He is also experienced in environmental metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, NGS amplicon sequencing, qPCR and RT-qPCR to examine the diversity, abundance and activity of soil microorganisms involved in biogeochemical nutrient cycling. He has expertise in the development and application of RNA/DNA extraction methods, microbial community primer design and in the use of bioinformatics tools for analysing NGS sequencing data from complex microbial communities. Ian’s current research covers OSR yield decline with the Roots of Decline project; and the relationship between above and below ground diversity as influenced by pH and fertilizer treatments. Recent findings have shown that two crucial players in the nitrogen cycle (Bradyrhizobia and Nitrososphaera) are inversely correlated to tillage.

Strategic Programme

  • Soil 2 Nutrition (S2N)

Science Projects

  • U-grass: Understanding and enhancing soil ecosystem services and resilience in UK grass and croplands
  • Roots of decline? Assembly and function of the rhizosphere microbiome in relation to crop yield
  • UK-China Virtual Joint Centre for Improved Nitrogen Agronomy CINAG (NEWTON FUND)
  • iGCRF (Institute award) - BBSRC - Data & Resources for African Soils
  • Exploitation of the rhizosphere microbiome for sustainable wheat production
  • Food Waste voucher - An investigation of insect frass biodiversity as a function of food waste diet


  • 1987 - Bachelor (Hons) Biological Sciences, City of London Polytechnic