ProjectResilience of Below Ground Fungal Communities

Understanding how fungi interact with the environment

Professor Wilfred Otten
Cranfield University

Co-PIs & Co-Is

Aims & Objectives

As fungi interact with the environment a complex community emerges and it is thought that the more diverse the community the more resilient the soil will be. It is important, therefore to understand these interactions and how they react to change. Using an experimental and modelling approach this project will:

  • identify which key soil properties and fungal traits makes soil more or less resilient
  • identify which management options can be put in place to make soil more resilient to physical changes
  • use a modelling approach to identify the limits at which soils are at risk of losing the ability to resist and adapt to change


Wilfred is a professor of soil biophysics whose research interests are to apply principles of physics, experimentation and modelling to develop and test predictive and explanatory approaches towards soil ecosystems functioning. You can find out more about Wilfred here.


Xavier Portell-Canal

Computational biologist

Xavier Portell-Canal is computational biologist whose research focuses on mathematical modelling of biological systems, especially focusing on microbiological relevant scales. Specifically he has experience in modelling growth dynamics of yeast and the dynamics of the activity of soil bacteria at pore scale. Xavier’s current research focuses on modelling of soil processes at the pore scale with special attention to fungal activity. He is familiar with a range of modelling techniques including population-based microbial growth models, the lattice-Boltzmann approach, and linear programming but his main background is in Individual-based (aka, agent-based) modelling.