Dr Flora O'Brien

Specialist in Root Biology
01732 523728

Research interests

Flora’s research focuses on aspects of root and soil biology in horticultural crop production. Her particular areas of interest include soil health and carbon sequestration, and root-rhizosphere interactions.

Current research projects

Title: Increasing productivity and sustainability in UK viticulture: investigating the potential impact of groundcover management practices on soil health, yields and juice quality, and emissions
Duration: May 2022 - April 2024
Partners: Gusbourne, Chapel Down, University of Greenwich (NRI), T. Denne & Sons, Vinescapes
Funders/funding: Defra/Innovate UK

Funders/funding: Defra/Innovate UKPhD project: Below ground carbon sequestration potential of apple trees
Duration: October 2019 – October 2023
Partners: University of Reading
Funders/funding: BBSRC, Fruit Crop Research CTP

Title: Carbon sequestration in modern apple dessert orchards
Duration: October 2020 -  March 2021
Partners: Alicia Ledo (independent researcher)
Funders/funding: AHDB

Recent publications

O’Brien, FJM, Almaraz, M, Foster, M, Hill, A, Huber, D, King, E, Langford, H, Lowe, MA, Mickan, BS, Miller, V and Moore, O (2019). Soil salinity and pH drive soil bacterial community composition and diversity along a lateritic slope in the Avon River critical zone observatory, Western Australia. Frontiers in Microbiology, 10, p.1486

Tilston, EL, Deakin, G, Bennett, J, Passey, T, Harrison, N, O’Brien, F, Fernández-Fernández, F and Xu, X (2018). Candidate causal organisms for apple replant disease in the United Kingdom. Phytobiomes Journal, 2 (4), p.261-274

O’Brien, FJM, Dumont, MG, Webb, JS and Poppy, GM (2018). Rhizosphere bacterial communities differ according to fertilizer regimes and cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.) harvest time, but not aphid herbivory. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9, p.1620 

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