Picture of Bobbi Helgason

Bobbi Helgason Associate Professor

5E22 - Agriculture Building

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

Katulanda, P.M., F.L. Walley, H.H. Janzen and B.L. Helgason. 2018. Land use legacy regulates microbial community composition in transplanted Chernozems. Applied Soil Ecology 129:13-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2018.03.001
Gregorich, E., H. Janzen, B. Ellert, B. Helgason, B. Qian, B. Zebarth, D. Angers, R. Beyaert, C. Drury, S. Duguid, W. May, B. McConkey and M. Dyck. 2017. Litter decay controlled by temperature, not soil properties, affecting future soil carbon. Global Change Biology 23:1725-1734.  https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13502
Arcand, M.M., Levy-Booth, D.J., and Helgason, B.L.  2017.  Resource legacies of organic and conventional management differentiate soil microbial carbon use.  Frontiers in Microbiology, 8:2293. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.02293
Blain, N.P., B.L. Helgason and J.J. Germida. 2017. Endophytic root bacteria associated with the natural vegetation growing at the hydrocarbon contaminated Bitumount Provincial Historic site. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 63:502-515. DOI:10.1139/cjm-2017-0039
Banerjee, S., B.L. Helgason, L. Wang, T. Winsley, B. Ferrari and S.D. Siciliano. 2016. Legacy effects of soil moisture on microbial community structure and N2O emissions. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 95:40-50.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.12.004
Helgason, B.L., H.J. Konschuh, A. Bedard-Haughn and A.J. VandenBygaart. 2014. Microbial distribution in an eroded landscape: Buried A horizons support abundant and unique communities. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment 196:94-102.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2014.06.029


SLSC 398.3 Agronomic Soil Microbiology
SLSC 842.3 Soil Microbiology
SLSC 835.2 Physical, Chemical, and Biological Characterization of Soils