Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Professor of Microbial Ecology



+44 (0)20 7594 2268thomas.bell




MunroSilwood Park





Ecology of microbes

See my Personal Website for more details.

My research looks at the ecology and evolution of microbial communities. Microbial communities are among the most complex, diverse, and poorly understood groups of organisms. My research combines laboratory-based experiments with field-based manipulations of naturally-occurring communities.

Areas of particular interest include:

  • Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in bacterial communities, including methods for developing and analyzing large-scale biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiments.
  • Spatial patterns in bacterial communities.
  • Predator-prey relationships among microbial groups, particularly the effect of protist predators on bacterial prey.


Research focus



Zhang F-G, Bell T, Zhang Q-G, 2019, Experimental testing of dispersal limitation in soil bacterial communities with a propagule addition approach, Microbial Ecology, Vol:77, ISSN:0095-3628, Pages:905-912

Tiegs SD, Costello DM, Isken MW, et al., 2019, Global patterns and drivers of ecosystem functioning in rivers and riparian zones, Science Advances, Vol:5, ISSN:2375-2548

Rivett DW, Bell T, 2018, Abundance determines the functional role of bacterial phylotypes in complex communities, Nature Microbiology, Vol:3, ISSN:2058-5276, Pages:767-+

Rivett D, Jones M, Ramoneda J, et al., 2018, Elevated success of multispecies bacterial invasions impacts community composition during ecological succession, Ecology Letters, Vol:21, ISSN:1461-023X, Pages:516-524

Jones ML, Ramoneda JM, Rivett DW, et al., 2017, Biotic resistance shapes the influence of propagule pressure on invasion success in bacterial communities, Ecology, ISSN:1939-9170

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