Terrence H. Bell, Ph.D.

Terrence H. Bell, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Phytobiomes
317 Buckhout Lab (office)
409 Buckhout Lab (lab)

University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • High-throughput sequencing
  • Crop-associated microbiomes
  • Impacts of disturbance on plant-microbe relationships
  • Environmental microbiology
  • Microbial products


  • B.S., Biology, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada
  • M.S., Biology, Western University, London, ON, Canada
  • Ph.D., Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada

Postdoctoral Associate


Lab Staff

  • Emily Grandinette (Research Technologist), B.S. from The Pennsylvania State University


  • Rondy Malik (Ph.D. Student), now postdoc at University of Kansas
  • Ryan Trexler (Research Technologist), now Ph.D. student with Estelle Couradeau
  • Idalys Bonet (Undergraduate Assistant)
  • Patrick Brown (Undergraduate Assistant)
  • Tim Peoples (Undergraduate Assistant)
  • Brandon Wilt (Undergraduate Assistant)


The microbiome is the collection of all microorganisms that inhabit a defined environment. Our lab applies a variety of techniques, including high-throughput sequencing approaches, to understand how the manipulation of environmental microbiomes affects soil function and plant growth.

In particular, we are interested in:

  • The impacts of unintentional human modification of microbiomes on the function of agricultural and ecological systems.
  • The extent to which microbiomes can be purposefully modified in different biotic and abiotic contexts.
  • Competition between complex microbial assemblages.

Editorial Contributions

Editorial Board for ISME Communications

Subject Editor for Journal of Soils and Sediments


Bark decomposition in white oak soil outperforms eastern hemlock soil, while bark type leads to consistent changes in soil microbial composition
Biogeochemistry, Malik, Rondy J., Trexler, Ryan V., Eissenstat, David M., Bell, Terrence H., 2020

Comparing approaches for capturing bacterial assemblages associated with symptomatic (Bacterial Blotch) and asymptomatic mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) caps
Phytobiomes Journal, Martins, Samuel J., Trexler, Ryan V., Vieira, Fabricio R., Pecchia, John A., Kandel, Prem P., Hockett, Kevin L., Bell, Terrence H., Bull, Carolee T., 2020

Metatranscriptomic sequencing of a cyanobacterial soil-surface consortium with and without a diverse underlying soil microbiome
Microbiology Resource Announcements, Bell, Terrence H., Trexler, Ryan V., Peng, Xin, Huntemann, Marcel, Clum, Alicia, Foster, Brian, Foster, Bryce, Roux, Simon, Palaniappan, Krishnaveni, Varghese, Neha, Mukherjee, Supratim, Reddy, T. B.K., Daum, Chris, Copeland, Alex, Ivanova, Natalia N., Kyrpides, Nikos C., Pennacchio, Christa, Eloe-Fadrosh, Emiley A., Bruns, Mary Ann, 2020

Relationship between soybean yield from high and low yielding field positions and selected soil characteristics across farms
Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment, Bandara, Ananda, Weerasooriya, Dilooshi, Murillo-Williams, Adriana, White, Charlie, Collins, Alyssa, Bell, Terrence, Esker, Paul, 2020

Prospects of alleviating early planting-associated cold susceptibility of soybean using microbes: insights from microbiome analysis
Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, Bandara, Ananda, Weerasooriya, Dilooshi, Bell, Terrence, Esker, Paul, 2020

Many roads to bacterial generalism
FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Bell, Terrence, Bell, Thomas, 2020

Abiotic conditions outweigh microbial origin during bacterial assembly in soils
Environmental Microbiology, Kaminsky, Laura, Esker, Paul, Bell, Terrence, 2020

Comparing approaches for capturing bacterial assemblages associated with symptomatic (bacterial blotch) and asymptomatic mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) caps
Phytobiomes Journal, Martins, Samuel, Trexler, Ryan, Vieira, Fabricio, Pecchia, John, Kandel, Prem, Hockett, Kevin, Bell, Terrence, Bull, Carolee, 2020

100 Years Since Tolaas: Bacterial Blotch of Mushrooms in the 21st Century
PLANT DISEASE, Osdaghi, Ebrahim, Martins, Samuel, Ramos-Sepulveda, Laura, Vieira, Fabricio, Pecchia, John, Beyer, David, Bell, Terrence, Yang, Yinong, Hockett, Kevin, Bull, Carolee, 2019

Factoring Ecological, Societal, and Economic Considerations into Inoculant Development
Trends in Biotechnology, Bell, Terrence H, Kaminsky, Laura M, Gugino, Beth K, Carlson, John E, Malik, Rondy J, Hockett, Kevin L, Trexler, Ryan V, 2019

Manipulating Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes: Challenges and Opportunities
Phytobiomes Journal, Bell, Terrence H, Hockett, Kevin, Alcalá-Briseño, Ricardo Ivan, Barbercheck, Mary, Beattie, Gwyn A, Bruns, Mary Ann, Carlson, John, Chung, Taejung, Collins, Alyssa, Emmett, Bryan, Esker, Paul, Garrett, karen, Glenna, Leland, Gugino, Beth K., Jimenez Gasco, Maria del Mar, Kinkel, Linda, Kovac, Jasna, Kowalski, Kurt, Kuldau, Gretchen, Leveau, Johan, Michalska-Smith, Matthew, Myrick, Jessica, Peter, Kari, Salazar, Maria Vivanco, Shade, Ashley, Stopnisek, Nejc, Tan, Xiaoqing, Welty, Amy, Wickings, Kyle, Yergeau, Etienne, 2019

The inherent conflicts in developing soil microbial inoculants
Trends in Biotechnology, 2019

Innovative technologies to improve understanding of microbial N dynamics in agricultural soils
Agricultural & Environmental Letters, Cloutier, Mara, Bhowmik, Arnab, Bell, Terrence, Bruns, Maryann, 2019

Vineyard under-vine floor management alters soil microbial composition, while the fruit microbiome shows no corresponding shifts
Scientific reports, Chou, Ming Yi, Vanden Heuvel, Justine, Bell, Terrence H., Panke-Buisse, Kevin, Kao-Kniffin, Jenny, 2018

Rethinking invasion impacts across multiple field sites using European swallowwort (Vincetoxicum rossicum) as a model invader
Invasive Plant Science and Management, Thompson, Grant L., Bell, Terrence, Kao-Kniffin, Jenny, 2018

Medicago sativa has reduced biomass and nodulation when grown with soil microbiomes conditioned to high phosphorous inputs
Phytobiomes Journal, Kaminsky, Laura M., Thompson, Grant L., Trexler, Ryan V., Bell, Terrence H., Kao-Kniffin, Jenny, 2018

Canola root-Associated microbiomes in the Canadian Prairies
Frontiers in Microbiology, Lay, Chih Ying, Bell, Terrence H., Hamel, Chantal, Harker, K. Neil, Mohr, Ramona, Greer, Charles W., Yergeau, Étienne, St-Arnaud, Marc, 2018

Contribution of Medicago sativa to the productivity and nutritive value of forage in semi-arid grassland pastures
Grass and Forage Science, Klabi, R., Bell, T. H., Hamel, C., Iwaasa, A., Schellenberg, M. P., St-Arnaud, M., 2018

Contribution of Medicago sativa to the productivity and nutritive value of forage in semi‐arid grassland pastures
Grass and Forage Science, Klabi, Rim, Bell, Terrence, Hamel, Chantal, Iwaasa, Alan, Schellenberg, Mike, Raies, Aly, St-Arnaud, Marc, 2017

Petroleum biodegradation capacity of bacteria and fungi isolated from petroleum-contaminated soil
International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation, Marchand, Charlotte, St-Arnaud, Marc, Hogland, William, Bell, Terrence H., Hijri, Mohamed, 2017

Soil microbiome transfer method affects microbiome composition, including dominant microorganisms, in a novel environment
FEMS Microbiology Letters, Howard, Mia, Bell, Terrence, Kao-Kniffin, Jenny, 2017

Dynamics of Physicochemical Variables and Cultivable Bacteria in Vermicompost during Steady Food Waste Addition and Upon Feed Interruption
Compost Science and Utilization, Hénault-Ethier, Louise, Bell, Terrence, Martin, Vincent J.J., Gélinas, Yves, 2016

A diverse soil microbiome degrades more crude oil than specialized bacterial assemblages obtained in culture
Applied and environmental microbiology, Bell, Terrence H., Stefani, Franck O.P., Abram, Katrina, Champagne, Julie, Yergeau, Etienne, Hijri, Mohamed, St-Arnaud, Marc, 2016

Comprehensive sampling of an isolated dune system demonstrates clear patterns in soil fungal communities across a successional gradient
Environmental Microbiology Reports, Roy-Bolduc, Alice, Bell, Terrence H., Boudreau, Stéphane, Hijri, Mohamed, 2015

Early rhizosphere microbiome composition is related to the growth and Zn uptake of willows introduced to a former landfill
Environmental microbiology, Bell, Terrence H., Cloutier-Hurteau, Benoît, Al-Otaibi, Fahad, Turmel, Marie Claude, Yergeau, Etienne, Courchesne, François, St-Arnaud, Marc, 2015

Culture-dependent and -independent methods capture different microbial community fractions in hydrocarbon-contaminated soils
PloS one, Stefani, Franck O.P., Bell, Terrence H., Marchand, Charlotte, De La Providencia, Ivan E., El Yassimi, Abdel, St-Arnaud, Marc, Hijri, Mohamed, 2015

Transplanting soil microbiomes leads to lasting effects on willow growth, but not on the rhizosphere microbiome
Frontiers in Microbiology, Yergeau, Etienne, Bell, Terrence H., Champagne, Julie, Maynard, Christine, Tardif, Stacie, Tremblay, Julien, Greer, Charles W., 2015

Plant assemblage composition and soil P concentration differentially affect communities of AM and total fungi in a semi-arid grassland
FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Klabi, Rim, Bell, Terrence, Hamel, Chantal, Iwaasa, Alan, Schellenberg, Mike, Raies, Aly, St-Arnaud, Marc, 2015

Contrasting the community structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi from hydrocarbon-contaminated and uncontaminated soils following willow (Salix spp. L.) planting
PloS one, Hassan, Saad El Din, Bell, Terrence H., Stefani, Franck O.P., Denis, David, Hijri, Mohamed, St-Arnaud, Marc, 2014

Linkage between bacterial and fungal rhizosphere communities in hydrocarbon-contaminated soils is related to plant phylogeny
ISME Journal, Bell, Terrence, El-Din Hassan, Saad, Lauron-Moreau, Aurélien, Al-Otaibi, Fahad, Hijri, Mohamed, Yergeau, Etienne, St-Arnaud, Marc, 2014

Increasing phytoremediation efficiency and reliability using novel omics approaches
Trends in Biotechnology, Bell, Terrence, Joly, Simon, Pitre, Frederic, Yergeau, Etienne, 2014

Alteration of microbial community structure affects diesel biodegradation in an Arctic soil
FEMS microbiology ecology, Bell, Terrence H., Yergeau, Etienne, Juck, Dave F., Whyte, Lyle G., Greer, Charles W., 2013

Predictable bacterial composition and hydrocarbon degradation in Arctic soils following diesel and nutrient disturbance
ISME Journal, Bell, Terrence H., Yergeau, Etienne, Maynard, Christine, Juck, David, Whyte, Lyle G., Greer, Charles W., 2013

Microbial competition in polar soils: a review of an understudied but potentially important control on productivity
Biology, Bell, Terrence, Callender, Katrina, Whyte, Lyle, Greer, Charles, 2013

Identification of nitrogen-incorporating bacteria in petroleum-contaminated arctic soils by using [15N]DNA-based stable isotope probing and pyrosequencing
Applied and environmental microbiology, Bell, Terrence H., Yergeau, Etienne, Martineau, Christine, Juck, David, Whyte, Lyle G., Greer, Charles W., 2011

Fine scale variability in soil extracellular enzyme activity is insensitive to rain events and temperature in a mesic system
Pedobiologia, Bell, Terrence, Henry, Hugh A.L., 2011