Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Aaron Fox

Research Officer

Research Interests

I am a research scientist focusing on soil microbial ecology, specializing in grassland agro-ecosystems. My principle research topic has been in understanding how agricultural management intensity and plant species diversity influence both the structure and functioning of the soil microbial community in such systems.

Current Projects

In April 2021, I started working under the RL2025 Marie Skłodowska-Curie funded project ‘Function follows diversity: Consequences of altered plant or soil microbial community diversity for nutrient turnover in grasslands’ working in collaboration with Dr. Fiona Brennan in Teagasc, as well as Prof. Michael Schloter in the Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany.

In this project, I will use a combination of long-term grassland field experiments and mesocosm experiments to investigate how manipulating both aboveground plant species diversity and belowground soil microbial diversity can influence soil nutrient cycling and turnover.


  • 2021  -  Postdoctoral Researcher, Agroscope, Zurich, Switzerland.
  • 2017  -  PhD University of Limerick/Teagasc Johnstown Castle, Ireland.
  • 2013  -  MSc (Research) University of Limerick, Ireland.
  • 2011  -  BA Natural Sciences (Microbiology), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

Dr. Fox has published many peer reviewed scientific papers. His publication list can be found on Orcid, and ResearchGate accounts:

Aaron's ResearchGate account 

Barreiro, A., Fox, A., Widmer, F., Lüscher, A., Silva, L., Vieira, Â, F., Musyoki, M., Zimmermann, J., Rasche, F. and Dimitrova Mårtensson L.M. (2022) Soil bacteria respond to regional edapho-climatic conditions while soil fungi respond to management intensity in grasslands along a European transect. Applied Soil Ecology, 170: 104264.

Fox, A., Widmer, F., Barreiro, A., Dimitrova Mårtensson, L-M. , Silva, L., Vieira, Â, F., Musyoki, M., Zimmermann, J., Rasche, F., and Lüscher, A. (2021) Small-scale agricultural grassland management can affect soil fungal community structure as much as continental scale geographic patterns. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, fiab148

Fox, A., Lüscher, A. and Widmer, F. (2020) Plant species identity drives soil microbial community structures which persist under a following crop. Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 10, pp.8652-8668

Fox, A., Suter, M., Widmer, F. and Lüscher, A. (2020) Positive legacy effect of previous legume proportion in a ley on the performance of a following crop of Lolium multiflorum. Plant and Soil, Vol. 447, pp. 497-506.

Fox, A., Ikoyi, I., Torres. G., Lanigan, G., Schmalenberger, A., Wakelin, S. and Creamer, R. (2018) The influence of aggregate size fraction and horizon position on microbial community composition. Applied Soil Ecology, Vol. 127, pp.19-29.

Fox, A., Ikoyi, I., Creamer, R., Lanigan, G and Schmalenberger, A. (2017) Microbial community structure and function respond more strongly to temporal progression than to the application of slurry in an Irish grassland. Applied Soil Ecology, Vol. 120, pp. 97-104.

Fox, A., Gahan, J., Ikoyi, I., Kwapinski, W., O’Sullivan, O., Cotter, P.D and Schmalenberger, A. (2016) Miscanthus biochar promotes growth of spring barley and shifts bacterial community structures, including phosphorus and sulfur mobilizing bacteria. Pedobiologia, Vol. 59, Issue 4, pp.195-202.

Schmalenberger, A. and Fox, A. (2016) Bacterial mobilization of nutrients from biochar-amended soils. Advances in Applied Microbiology, Vol. 94, pp.109-159.

Fox, A., Kwapinski, W., Griffiths, B.S. and Schmalenberger, A. (2014) The role of sulfur- and phosphorus- mobilizing bacteria in biochar-induced growth promotion of Lolium perenne. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Vol. 90, pp. 78-91.