Dr Felicity Crotty


Senior Lecturer in Soil Ecology.


University responsibilities

  • Senior Lecturer in Soil Ecology
  • Lecturer for the Catalyst project
  • Research committee 

Professional memberships

  • Member Royal Entomological Society (2007-present)
  • Soil Ecology Society Elected Board Member (2015-2017); general member (2009-present)
  • Member British Society of Soil Science (2020 - present) 

External appointments

  • Guest Lecturer for the Field Studies Council – Soil Mesofauna Course (2013-present)


  • Associate Editor European Journal of Soil Science
  • Section Editor Pedobiologia – Journal of Soil Ecology

Peer reviewer

Please see Publons for full reviewer profile www.publons.com/a/1342445/

  • Agricultural and Forest Entomology
  • Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment
  • Applied Soil Ecology
  • Canadian Journal of Soil Science
  • Ecology and Evolution
  • European Journal of Agronomy
  • European Journal of Soil Biology
  • Food and Energy Security
  • Frontiers in Microbiology
  • Global Change Biology
  • Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Methods in Ecology and Evolution
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Plant and Soil
  • PLoS One
  • Science of the Total Environment
  • Soil Biology and Biochemistry


Research interests

My research interests and activities over the last ten years have broadly fit within two interlinked categories - 1) Healthy soils and 2) Soil Biology. The main focus of my research for the last six years has been healthy soils. How resilient is a soil to changes within agricultural management, food security and climate change and how does this impact soil biology is an important research topic I am pursuing.

Research funding

  • NERC QUENCH – EQUI-Food project 2022 - Principle investigator RAU £17,520, Total £45,000
  • DEFRA Fisheries and Seafood Scheme – Ocean Sheep project 2022 - Principle investigator RAU Total £8500
  • STFC Agricultural runoff sandpit - Remote Worming - RAU lead Co-investigator RAU £10,000, Total £20,000 

Previous research projects

  • Soil Biology and Soil Health Partnership 2017-2021, Allerton Project, GWCT – funded through AHDB Great Soils programme (https://tinyurl.com/yc6dutdq)
  • SoilCare 2015-2018, Allerton Project, GWCT – funded through the EU Horizon 2020 programme (https://www.soilcare-project.eu/)
  • Agroforestry project 2015-2018, Allerton Project, GWCT – funded through the Woodland Trust
  • Sustainable Intensification Research Platform 2015-2017, Allerton Project, GWCT – funded by DEFRA (http://siplatform.org.uk/)
  • SUREROOT 2014-2015, Aberystwyth University – funded through BBSRC Link (http://www.sureroot.uk/).
  • PROSOIL 2012-2015, Aberystwyth University – funded through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 (http://www.prosoilproject.uk/en/).
  • PhD 2007-2011, Plymouth University and Rothamsted Research; Elucidating the relative importance of bacterial and fungal feeding channels within soil food webs, under differing land managements – funded by the BBSRC Cross-Institute Programme DTG Studentships


Programme Leader

  • BSc Environment Food and Society

Module Leader

  • Making a positive impact on natural environment and rural economy (P2 Catalyst project, 15 credits, L7)
  • Ecology Field tour (3230, 15 credits, L6)
  • Soil and the Environment (1007, 15 credits, L4)
  • Sustainable Soil Management (3013, 15 credits L6)
  • Animal Ecology (3222, 15 credits, L6)
  • Resilience of Agroecosystems (2349, 15 credits, L5)



ORCiD: 0000-0002-7363-224X

Refereed academic journal publications

  • Crotty FV (2022) Soil Organisms Have Favorite Forage Plants. Frontiers for Young Minds. 10:660785. https://doi.org/10.3389/frym.2022.660785  
  • Piccoli I, Seehusen T, Bussell J, Vizitu O, Calciu I, Berti A, Börjesson G, Kirchmann H, Kätterer T, Sartori F, Stoate C, Crotty FV, Panagea IS, Alaoui A, Bolinder MA, (2022). Opportunities for Mitigating Soil Compaction in Europe—Case Studies from the SoilCare Project Using Soil-Improving Cropping Systems. Land, 11(2):223. https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020223
  • Bussell, J, Crotty, FV, Stoate, C, (2021). Comparison of Compaction Alleviation Methods on Soil Health and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Land 2021, 10, 1397. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10121397
  • Phillips, HRP, Bach, EM, Bartz, MLC..., Crotty, FV..., Cameron, EK, & Eisenhauer, N, (2021). Global data on earthworm abundance, biomass, diversity and corresponding environmental properties. Nature Scientific Data 8, 136,  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00912-z
  • Hannula, SE, Di Lonardo, DP, Christensen, BT, Crotty, FV, Elsen, A, van Erp, PJ, Hansen, EM, Rubæk, GH, Tits, M, Toth, Z, Termorshuizen, AJ, (2021). Inconsistent effects of agricultural practices on soil fungal communities across twelve European long-term experiments. European Journal of Soil Science 72: 1902-1923 https://doi.org/10.1111/ejss.13090
  • Crotty, FV, (2021). Assessing soil health by measuring fauna. In: Otten, W., Advances in measuring soil health. BDS Publishing, Cambridge, UK
  • Bolinder, MA, Crotty, FV, Elsen, A, Frac, M, Kismányoky, T, Lipiec, J, Tits, M, Tóth, Z, & Kätterer, T, (2020). The effect of crop residues, cover crops, manures and nitrogen fertilization on soil organic carbon changes in agroecosystems: a synthesis of reviews. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 25: 929-952 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11027-020-09916-3
  • Crotty F.V. (2020) Soil Organisms Within Arable Habitats. In: Hurford C., Wilson P., Storkey J. (eds) The Changing Status of Arable Habitats in Europe. Springer, Cham.
  • Phillips, HRP, Guerra, C., Bartz, MLC., Briones, MJI., Brown, G, Crowther, TW…, Crotty, FV..., Cameron, EK, & Eisenhauer, N, (2019). Global distribution of earthworm diversity. Science 366, 480-485. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aax4851  
  • Crotty, FV, & Adl, SM, (2019). Competition and predation in soil fungivorous microarthropods using stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Frontiers in Microbiology – Terrestrial Microbiology, 10, 1-10 https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01274
  • Crotty, FV., Stoate, C, (2019). The legacy of cover crops on the soil habitat and ecosystem services in a heavy clay, minimum tillage rotation. Food and Energy Security e00169. https://doi.org/10.1002/fes3.169 (open access)
  • Crotty, FV., McCalman, H, Powell, H, Buckingham, S, and Marley CL, (2019). Should farmers apply fertiliser according to when their daffodils are in flower? Utilising a ‘farmer-science’ approach to understanding the impact of soil temperature on spring fertiliser application in Wales. Soil Use and Management 35, 169-176. https://doi.org/10.1111/sum.12503
  • Stoate, C., Jones, S., Crotty, FV., Morris, C., and Seymour, S, (2019). Participatory research approaches to integrating scientific and farmer knowledge of soil to meet multiple objectives in the English East Midlands. Soil Use Management 35, 150-159. https://doi.org/10.1111/sum.12488
  • Stockdale, E,  Griffiths, B, Hargreaves, P, Bhogal, A, Crotty, FV, and  Watson, C (2018). Conceptual framework underpinning management of soil health – supporting site-specific delivery of sustainable agro-ecosystems. Food and Energy Security, e00158 https://doi.org/10.1002/fes3.158 (open access)
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Sanderson, R, & Marley, CL, (2018). Increasing legume forage productivity through slurry application – a way to intensify sustainable agriculture? Food and Energy Security 7, e144 https://doi.org/10.1002/fes3.144  (open access)
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Sanderson, R, Rhymes, JR, Bourdin, F, Scullion, J, & Marley, CL, (2016). Understanding the legacy effect of previous forage crop and tillage management on soil biology, after conversion to an arable rotation. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 103, 241-252 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2016.08.018 (open access).
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Benefer, C, Allen, D, Shaw, P, & Marley, CL, (2016). First pest outbreak of the herbivorous springtail Sminthurus viridis in Europe and the implications for agriculture. Grass and Forage Science 71, 699-704. https://doi.org/10.1111/gfs.12235
  • Detheridge, AP, Brand, G, Fychan, R, Crotty, FV, Sanderson, R, Griffith, GW, & Marley, CL, (2016). The legacy effect of cover crops on soil fungal populations in a cereal rotation. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 228, 49-61 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2016.04.022 (open access).
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Scullion, J, Sanderson, R, & Marley, CL, (2015). Assessing the impact of agricultural forage crops on soil biodiversity and abundance. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 91, 119-126 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.08.036 (open access).
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Theobald, VJ, Sanderson, R, Chadwick, D, & Marley, CL, (2014). The impact of applying slurries from livestock fed different forages on soil composition and the yield of hybrid ryegrass. PLoS One 9, e97516. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0097516 (open access).
  • Crotty, FV, Blackshaw, RP, Adl, SM, Inger, R, & Murray, PJ, (2014). Divergence of feeding channels determined by land use change in the soil food web. Ecology & Evolution 4 (1), 1-13 https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.905 (open access).
  • Crotty, FV, Stocki, M, Knight., JD, & Adl, SM, (2013). Improving accuracy and sensitivity of isotope ratio mass spectrometry for δ13C and δ15N values in very low mass samples for ecology studies. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 65, 75-77 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2013.04.020
  • Crotty, FV, Adl, SM, Blackshaw, RP, & Murray, PJ, (2013). Measuring soil protist respiration and ingestion rates using stable isotopes. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 57, 919-921 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.10.039  
  • Crotty, FV, Adl, SM, Blackshaw, RP, & Murray, PJ, (2012). Using Stable Isotopes to Differentiate Trophic Feeding Channels within Soil Food Webs. Journal Eukaryotic Microbiology 59, 520-526 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1550-7408.2011.00608.x
  • Crotty, FV, Adl, SM, Blackshaw, RP, & Murray, PJ, (2012). Protozoan pulses unveil their pivotal position within the soil food web. Microbial Ecology 63, 905-918 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-011-9956-y
  • Crotty, FV, Blackshaw, RP, & Murray, PJ, (2011). Tracking the flow of bacterially derived 13C and 15N through soil faunal feeding channels. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 25, 1503-1513 https://doi.org/10.1002/rcm.4945
  • Crotty, FV, Blackshaw, RP, & Murray, PJ, (2011). Differential growth of the fungus Absidia cylindrospora on 13C/15N labelled media. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 25, 1479-1484 https://doi.org/10.1002/rcm.4888
  • Murray PJ, Clegg CD, Crotty FV, de la Fuente Martinez N, Williams JK, & Blackshaw RP, (2009). Dissipation of bacterially derived C & N through the meso- & macrofauna of a grassland soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 41, 1146-1150 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2009.02.021

Edited book contributions

  • Johnson, S, Crotty, FV, Ryalls, J, and Murray, P. (2018). Belowground Experimental Approaches for Exploring Aboveground–Belowground Patterns. In: Ohgushi T., Wurst S., Johnson S. (eds) Aboveground–Belowground Community Ecology. Ecological Studies (Analysis and Synthesis), vol 234. Springer, Cham. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-91614-9_2
  • Murray, PJ, Crotty, FV, & van Eekeren, N, (2012). Management of grassland systems, and soil and ecosystem services. Chapter 4.5. In Wall, et al. (2012). Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services. Oxford University Press, UK. pp 424. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199575923.003.0024

Other publications – research

Refereed conference publications

  • Crotty, FV, & Stoate, C, (2018). How can soil-improving cropping systems reduce compaction? Assessing mechanical methods in comparison to increasing root uptake and growth through biological amendments. Aspects of Applied Biology 140, p63-69
  • Crotty, FV, (2017). Slug invasions: cover crops, establishment methods or environmental conditions? Aspects of Applied Biology 136, p299-306
  • Crotty, FV, & Stoate, C, (2017). Understanding cover crops at the farm-scale – a method of sustainable intensification? Aspects of Applied Biology 136, p79-86
  • Stockdale EA, Griffiths BS, Hargreaves PR, Bhogal A, Crotty FV, Watson CA. (2017). Impacts of management of soil health – site-specific delivery of sustainable agro-ecosystems. Aspects of Applied Biology 136, p87-94
  • Reynolds, SH, Ritz, K, Crotty, FV, Stoate, C, West, H, Neal, AL (2017). Effect of cover crops on phosphatase activity in a clay arable soil in the UK. Aspects of Applied Biology 136, p215-220.
  • Stoate, C, Brown, C, Vilamizar Velez, M, Jarratt, S, Morris, C, Biggs, J, Szczur, J, and Crotty, FV. (2017). The use of a herbicide to investigate catchment management approaches to meeting sustainable intensification objectives. Aspects of Applied Biology 136, p115-120
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Scullion, J, Sanderson, R, & Marley, CL. (2014) The effects of agricultural forages on soil biology – linking the plant-soil-ecosystem. European Grassland Federation, Aberystwyth, UK. Proceedings in: Hopkins, A. EGF at 50: The Future of European Grasslands: Grassland Science in Europe, Volume 19, 267-269.

Conference contributions – invited speaker

  • Crotty, FV, Dungait, J, Fuller, N, Parfey, S & Flynn P (2019). Sustainable Soil Management – panel session with Q and A. Oxford REAL Farming Conference, Oxford UK.
  • Crotty, FV (2018). Investigating the soil food web, how this relates to soil health and agriculture. Leicestershire and Rutland Entomological Society “An evening with… Felicity Crotty”.
  • Crotty, FV, Murray, PJ, & Shepherd, M (2017). How improving soil biodiversity can form part of an integrated pest management strategy. Association of Applied Biologists: Advances in IPM 2017. Harper Adams, UK.
  • Crotty, FV (2017). Investigating the effects of agricultural management on soil ecology. Rothamsted Research invited seminar series, UK.
  • Crotty, FV (2016). Understanding the effects of agricultural management on soil invertebrates. ENTO’16, Royal Entomological Society Annual Conference. Harper Adams, UK.
  • Crotty, FV (2016). Energy and nutrient channels in the soil food web and the impact of agricultural management. Soil Food Webs: Linking structure, energy flux and function workshop. Humboldt-Universitat, Berlin, Germany.
  • Crotty, FV (2011). Differentiating Trophic Feeding Channels within the Soil Foodweb Using Stable Isotopes. Entomological Soc. of Canada & Acadian Entomological Soc. Halifax, CA.
  • Crotty, FV (2011). Estimating N & C transformations in an intact soil food web. International Society Protistologists, Seattle. Abstract – Journal of Phycology 47: S7-S7.

Unrefereed conference publications

  • Crotty, FV & Cannon, N. (2019) Earthworms as an indicator of soil health. Wageningen Soil Conference, Netherlands.
  • Crotty, FV & Stoate, C. (2019) How can soil improving cropping systems reduce compaction. Poster presentation. Wageningen Soil Conference, Netherlands.
  • Crotty, FV, Wallis, G, Bhogal, A, Griffiths, B, Stoate, C, & Stockdale, E. (2018) The effect of agricultural management on soil entomology and soil health. Ento’18, Edge Hill University, UK
  • Crotty, FV & Stoate, C. (2017) Untangling the effects of individual cover crop species compared to mixes on soil ecology. Soil Ecology Society, Colorado, USA
  • Crotty, FV & Stoate, C. (2017) Understanding how to harness the power of underground livestock; IGNITE TALK. Ecology of Soil Health Summit, Colorado, USA
  • Crotty, FV & Stoate, C. (2017) Selective feeding by earthworms, or just a lack of food? Advances in Soil Biology, Association of Applied Biologists, Rothamsted Research, UK.
  • Crotty, FV, Stoate, C, SoilCare partners & Hessel, R. (2017) SoilCare: How can soil-improving cropping systems reduce biodiversity loss? Poster Presentation: Advances in Soil Biology, Association of Applied Biologists, Rothamsted Research, UK.
  • Crotty, FV (2016) Assessing crop legacy effects within the rhizosphere. Managing the Rhizosphere to Alleviate Food Poverty: Mobilising Soil Nutrients: Brazil-UK workshop, ESALQ, Piracicaba, Brazil.
  • Crotty, FV & Stoate, C. (2015) Monitoring the effects of crop rotation and cover crops on soil invertebrates. RES Regional Meeting: Soil Entomology, Glasgow, UK.
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Scullion, J, Sanderson, R, & Marley, CL. (2015) Linking legacy effects within crop rotations to the soil food web. Soil Ecology Society, Colorado, USA.
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Scullion, J, Sanderson, R, & Marley, CL. (2015) Understanding the legacy effect of previous crop rotations on soil biology. Association of Applied Biologists, Improving Soil Health – developing tools for land managers, Marston, UK.
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Scullion, J, Sanderson, R, & Marley, CL. (2014) Investigating the impact of ecosystem change within agriculture on the soil food web. Poster presentation. First Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) Conference, Dijon, France.
  • Crotty, FV, Fychan, R, Benefer, C, Allen, D, Shaw, P, & Marley, CL. (2014) Changing population patterns: First recorded pest outbreak of the springtail Sminthurus viridis in Europe. Poster presentation. First GSBI Conference, Dijon, France.
  • Crotty, F.V., Fychan, R., Scullion. J., Davis, J.W., Scot, M., Sanderson, R., and Marley, C.L. (2013). How is the soil food web affected by management practices promoting high yielding & high quality grassland. ENTO’13, Royal Entomological Society, St Andrew’s, UK.
  • Crotty, F.V., Fychan, R., Scullion. J., Davis, J.W., Scot, M., Sanderson, R., and Marley, C.L. (2013). Linking aboveground management to belowground ecosystems: the effect of utilising alternative forages on the soil food web. Soil Ecology Society, New Jersey USA.
  • Crotty, F.V., Adl, S. Blackshaw, R.P., and Murray, P.J., (2012). Utilising stable isotope ecology to trace soil fauna feeding preferences in situ. International Colloquium on Soil Zoology (ICSZ), Coimbra, Portugal.
  • Crotty, F.V. and Adl, S. (2012) Empirically testing assimilation efficiencies in Entomobryomorpha Collembola. Poster presentation. ICSZ, Coimbra, Portugal.
  • Crotty, F. V., Adl, S. Blackshaw, R. P., and Murray, P. J., (2011). Linking the bacterial energy channel and the soil faunal food web – a study using stable isotopes. Soil Entomology and Ecology Workshop (Joint Meeting between RES and SES). Session chair, Plymouth, UK.
  • Crotty, F. V., Clegg, C. D., Blackshaw, R. P., and Murray, P. J., (2010) Elucidation of C & N flow through the soil invertebrate food web, a comparison of grassland and woodland soil. European Congress of Entomology: Soil Entomology Symposium, Budapest.
  • Crotty, F. V., Clegg, C. D., Blackshaw, R. P., and Murray, P. J., (2010) Discriminatory growth of 13C/15N enriched fungi over time. Poster presentation. Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry User Group (SIMSUG), Exeter, UK.
  • Crotty, F. V., Clegg, C. D., Blackshaw, R. P., and Murray, P. J., (2010) Tracking the flow of 13C & 15N through faunal feeding channels within soil food web. SIMSUG, Exeter, UK.
  • Crotty, F. V., Adl, S., Clegg, C. D., Blackshaw, R. P., and Murray, P. J., (2009) Tracking the translocation of 13C and 15N through microbial interactions within the soil. Soil Ecology Society, Vermont, USA
  • Crotty, F. V., Clegg, C. D., Blackshaw, R. P., and Murray, P. J. (2008) Tracking the bacterial faunal feeding channel within soil food webs. ENTO’08, Royal Entomological Society Annual Conference, Plymouth, UK

Other events, industry invited speaker and exposure of research

  • Invited Speaker at Farmers Weekly Soils in Practice (South) 2019 Conference. Bugs & beneficials as indicators of soil health demonstration; Practical applications of the Soil Biology & Soil Health Partnership oral presentation.
  • Clarke, A. (2019) Top tips to achieve more resilient and sustainable soils. In Farmers Weekly. https://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/land-preparation/soils/pointers-on-how-to-achieve-more-resilient-and-sustainable-soils from invited attendance at “Soil Round Table” event organised by Farmers Weekly.
  • Curtis, M. (2018)  Soil & Water 2018 conference: Getting cover crops to pay their way. In: Farmers Guardian. https://www.fginsight.com/news/soil--water-2018-conference-getting-cover-crops-to-pay-their-way-54072
  • Crotty, FV, & Rickson (2017). What is a Healthy Soil? Blog for Agricology website. https://www.agricology.co.uk/field/blog/what-healthy-soil
  • Earthworm Ecology stand, hosted by NIAB at Cereals 2016, 2017 and 2018.
  • New K-I-D on the block at Soil Workshop Lincoln University 2018
  • Soil Biology as an Indicator of Soil Health at Agri-Tech East – Waiting for Worms Workshop 2018.
  • Yield benefits of better soil management at Sustainable Futures annual conference 2018.
  • Current Soil Research at Allerton at 15 years of Soil and Water Research at the Allerton project 2018.
  • Agricology Hour panellist at Groundswell 2017
  • Cover crops and Soil Biology at Agrivital Annual Staff meeting 2017.
  • Cover crops and Soil Biology at National Farmers Union Soil Technical Day 2017.
  • Soil Biology workshops at three Campaign for Farmed Environment events organised by FWAG 2016.
  • Soil Biology workshops at two Catchment Sensitive Farming events 2016.
  • First Prize BBSRC Science Photo Competition, Agriculture, Food, Diet and Health Category. Featured in Science 327, (2010) p1183, Random Samples: A World in a Grain (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/327/5970/r-samples).