College of Agriculture and Bioresources

Research Area(s)

  • Soil microbiology
  • Microbial ecology
  • Plant root-microbe interactions
  • Soil organic matter
  • Soil nutrient cycling
  • Agricultural management impacts on soil microorganisms


Soil Science

Brief Biography

Bobbi Helgason is a soil microbial ecologist whose research program focusses on how microorganisms affect soil functions and plant growth, particularly in agroecosystems. She received her PhD in Soil Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2010 and was a Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and an Adjunct Professor in Soil Science from 2010 until 2018. Bobbi grew up on a grain farm near St. Gregor, Saskatchewan. She teaches soil microbiology at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Research Interests

My research program focusses on how soil microorganisms interact with climate and agricultural management practices to affect soil functioning and crop productivity. In my program, I combine field and laboratory investigations using leading edge methodologies in microbial ecology, stable isotope probing, and soil energetics to understand links between microbial communities (structure, activity) and soil biogeochemical processes and plant-microbe interactions.


Ph.D. (Soil Science) University of Saskatchewan, 2010
M.Sc. (Soil Science) University of Saskatchewan, 2001
B.Sc. (Applied Microbiology) University of Saskatchewan, 1999

Selected Recent Publications

Please refer to Google Scholar profile for full publication list.

Mamet, S.D., B.L. Helgason, E.G. Lamb, A. McGillivray, K.G. Stanley, S.J. Robinson, S.U. Aziz, S. Vail, S.D. Siciliano. 2022. Phenology-dependent root bacteria traits enhance yield of Brassica napus. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. Soil Biol. Biochem. 166:108468.  

Town, J.R., E.G. Gregorich, C.F. Drury, R. Lemke, L.A. Phillips and B.L. Helgason. 2022. Diverse crop rotations influence the bacterial and fungal communities in root, rhizosphere and soil and impact soil microbial processes. Appl. Soil Ecol. 169:104241. 

Bell, J., B.L. Helgason and S.D. Siciliano. 2021. Brassica napus phyllosphere bacterial composition changes with growth stage. Plant Soil. 

Overy, D.P., M.H. Bell, J. Habtewold, B.L. Helgason and E.G. Gregorich. 2021. ‘Omics’ technologies for the study of soil carbon stabilization: a review. Submitted to Front. Environ. Sci. – Soil Processes.

Morales Moreira, Z., B.L. Helgason and J.J. Germida. 2021. Environment has a stronger effect than host plant genotype in shaping spring Brassica napus seed microbiome. Phytobiomes J.

Habtewold, J., B.L. Helgason, S.F. Yanni, H.H. Janzen, B.H. Ellert and E.G. Gregorich. 2021. Warming Effects on the Structure of Bacterial and Fungal Communities in Diverse Soils. Appl. Soil Ecol. 163:103973.

Morales Moreira, Z., B.L. Helgason and J.J. Germida. 2021. Crop, genotype and field environmental conditions shape bacterial and fungal seed epiphytic microbiomes. Can. J. Microbiol. 67:161-173.

Habtewold, J., B.L. Helgason, S. Yanni, H. Janzen, B. Ellert, E. Gregorich. 2020. Litter composition has stronger influence on the structure of soil fungal than bacterial communities. Eur. J. Soil Biol. 98:103190.

Bazghaleh, N., J.K. Bell, S.D. Mamet, Z. Morales Moreira, Z.M. Taye, S. Williams, C. Norris, T. Dowry, M. Arcand, E. Lamb, M. Links, S. Shirtliffe, S. Vail, S.D. Siciliano, B. Helgason. 2020. An intensive multilocation temporal dataset of fungal and bacterial communities in the root and rhizosphere of Brassica napus. Data in Brief. 10.1016/j.dib.2020.106143.

Haddix, M., E. Gregorich, B. Helgason, H. Janzen, B. Ellert, F. Cotrufo. 2020. Climate, carbon content, and soil texture control the independent formation and persistence of particulate and mineral-associated organic matter in soil. Geoderma. 

Taye, Z.M., B. Helgason, J.K. Bell, C.E. Norris, S. Vail, S. Robinson, I. Parkin, M. Arcand, S. Mamet, M. Links, T. Dowhy, S. Siciliano, and E. Lamb. 2019. Core and Differentially Abundant Bacterial Taxa in the Rhizosphere of Field Grown Brassica napus Genotypes: Implications for Canola Breeding. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Yanni, S., B.L. Helgason, H.H. Janzen, B.H. Ellert and E.G. Gregorich. 2020. Warming effects on Carbon Dynamics and Microbial Communities in Soils of Diverse Texture. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 140:107631.

Mamet, S., E. Redlick, M. Brabant, E. Lamb, B. Helgason, K. Stanley and S. Siciliano. 2019. Structural equation modelling of a winnowed soil microbiome identifies how invasive plants re-structure microbial networks. ISME Journal 13:1988-1996.


SLSC 342.3 Agronomic Soil Microbiology
SLSC 842.3 Soil Microbiology
SLSC 835.2 Physical, Chemical, and Biological Characterization of Soils