Dr. Lori A. Phillips

Image Lori Phillips
Research Scientist

Dr. Phillips is a microbial ecologist who investigates the soil biological processes that maintain and enhance agro-ecosystem productivity and sustainability. 

Current research and/or projects

  • Lead. Investigating the diversity and function of soil microbiome-viro​me interactions in Canadian agro-Ecosystems
  • Lead. ​ Understanding the role of the soil microbiome in promoting resilient and sustainable agroecosystems
  • Co-lead. Genomic-enabled​ analysis of soil biological networks sustaining agro-ecosystem equilibrium
  • Co-lead. Impacts of crop rotation and cover crops on agro-ecosystem resilience
  • Co-lead. Understanding soil suppressiveness​ towards the Sudden Death Syndrome/soybea​n cyst nematode disease complex
  • Collaborator. Ontario Living Lab Program (Soil Health theme lead)
  • Collaborator. Environmental Change Onehealth Observatory (ECO^2): A framework for sustainable and resilient ecological goods and services for agro-ecosystems​, from the microbiome to the river basin scale
  • Collaborator. Sustainability measures to monitor and analyze the environmental impact of Canadian agriculture
  • Collaborator. Coordinated site network for studying the impacts of 4R nutrient management on crop production and nutrient loss
  • Collaborator. Precision agricultural technologies to identify and mitigate the spatial variability of N2O emissions and crop growth across a landscape.
  • Collaborator. Identifying water-efficient​ practices that co-deliver maximum benefits for tree fruit production & climate change mitigation
  • Collaborator. Unique cover crops, rootstocks, and irrigation techniques for Canadian vineyards

Research and/or project statements

Dr. Phillips’ research program investigates the soil biological processes that maintain and enhance agro-ecosystem productivity and sustainability. She uses molecular tools to understand how the ecosystem services provided by these biological communities can be managed or optimized at different scales, from the level of the plant through to the level of the landscape. This research is governed by three primary objectives within the context of soil health: 1) to develop new metrics to quantify the role of soil biology in enhancing soil and ecosystem health, 2) to generate new knowledge on the role of soil biota in supporting agricultural systems that are resilience to environmental and climate stresses, and 3) to provide information that enables farmers to sustainably intensify their production systems.


Peer-reviewed Publications (2015-2021)

  1. Hussein, SI, LA Phillips, Y Hu, SK Frey, DS Greuder, M Edwards, DR Lapen, CJ Ptacek, DW Blowes. 2021. Differences in phosphorus biogeochemistry and mediating microorganisms in the matrix and macropores of an agricultural clay loam soil. Soil Biol Biochem. In press SBB 108365
  2. Drury, CF, WD Reynolds, XM Yang, NB McLaughlin, WC Calder, LA Phillips. 2021. Diverse rotations impact microbial processes, seasonality, and overall N2O emissions from soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J. In press S-2021-02-0048-CA.R1
  3. Sharifi, M, L Phillips, S Zintel. 2021. Surface-applied organic amendments modify soil biological activity down the soil profile of an irrigated vineyard. Acta Hortic 1314. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1314.60
  4. Pérez-Guzmán, L, LA Phillips*, BJ Seuradge, I Agomoh, CF Drury, V Acosta-Martínez. 2021. An evaluation of biological soil health indicators in four long-term continuous agroecosystems in Canada. Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment. 4: e20164 doi:/10.1002/agg2.20164
  5. Agomoh, IV, CF Drury, LA Phillips, WD Reynolds, X Yang. 2021. Crop rotation enhances soybean yields and soil health indicators. Soil Sci Soc Am J. 2021: 1–11. doi:10.1002/saj2.20241
  6. Pérez-Guzmán, L, LA Phillips*, V Acosta-Martínez. 2021. Comparing biological methods for soil health assessments: EL‐FAME microbial markers, enzyme activities, and taxonomic and functional gene qPCR. Soil Sci Soc Am J.. 85: 636-653 doi:10.1002/saj2.20211  
  7. Forge, T, P Munro, AJ Midwood, LA Phillips, K Hannam, D Neilsen, T Powers, I Zasada. 2021. Shifting prevalence of plant-parasitic nematodes in orchards and vineyards of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. Plant Health Progress. doi:10.1094/PHP-10-20-0079-RS
  8. Marshall, AJ, A Longmore, L Phillips, C Tang, HL Hayden, KB Heidelberg, P Mele. 2021. Nitrogen cycling in coastal sediment microbial communities with seasonally variable benthic nutrient fluxes. Aquat. Microb. Ecol. 86: 1-19 doi:10.3354/ame01954
  9. Hayden, HL, LA Phillips, J. Condon, A Marshall, PM Mele. 2021. Nitrapyrin reduced ammonia oxidation with different impacts on the abundance of bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidisers in four agricultural soils. Appl. Soil Ecol. 157, 103759 doi:10.1016/j.apsoil.2020.103759
  10. Agomoh, IV, CF Drury, LA Phillips, WD Reynolds, X Yang. 2020. Increasing crop diversity in wheat rotations increases yields but decreases soil health. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 84:170-181 doi:10.1002/saj2.20000
  11. Reynolds, WD, RE Nurse, LA Phillips, CF Drury, XM Yang, ER Page. 2020 Characterizing mass–volume–density–porosity relationships in a sandy loam soil amended with compost. Can J Soil Sci. 100: 289-301 doi:10.1139/cjss-2019-0149
  12. Yang, XM, CF Drury, WD Reynolds, LA Phillips. 2020. Nitrogen release from shoots and roots of crimson clover, hairy vetch, and red clover. Can J Soil Sci. 100: 179-188 doi:10.1139/cjss-2019-0164
  13. Drury, CF, AL Woodley, WD Reynolds, XM Yang, LA Phillips. 2020. Impacts of corn stover removal on carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions. Soil Sci Soc Am J. doi:10.1002/saj2.20104
  14. Pérez-Guzmán, L, V Acosta-Martínez, LA Phillips, SA Mauget. 2020. Resilience of the microbial communities of semiarid agricultural soils during natural climatic variability events. Appl Soil Ecol 149, 103487 doi:10.1016/j.apsoil.2019.103487
  15. Woodley, AL, CF Drury, XY Yang, LA Phillips, et al. 2020. Ammonia volatilization, N2O emissions and corn yields as influenced by nitrogen placement and enhanced efficiency fertilizers. Soil Sci Soc Am J. 84: 1327-1341 doi:10.1002/saj2.20079
  16. Zhang, H, W Chen, B Zhao, LA Phillips, et al. 2020. Sandy soils amended with bentonite induced changes in soil microbiota and fungistasis in maize fields. Appl Soil Ecol 146: 103378
  17. Edge, TA, DJ Baird, G Bilodeau, N Gagné, et al. 2020. The Ecobiomics project: Advancing metagenomics assessment of soil health and freshwater quality in Canada. Sci The Total Environ 710, 135906 doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135906
  18. Marshall, A, LA Phillips, A Longmore, C Tang, et al, 2018. Primer selection influences abundance estimates of ammonia oxidizing archaea in sediments of Port Phillip Bay, Australia. Mar Env Research.140 90-95 doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2018.06.001
  19. Denton, MD, LA Phillips, MB Peoples, DJ Pearce, et al. 2017. Legume inoculant application methods: effects on nodulation patterns, nitrogen fixation, crop growth and yield in narrow-leaf lupin and faba bean. Plant Soil 419:25-39 doi:10.1007/s11104-017-3317-7
  20. Peoples, MB, AD Swan, L Goward, JA Kirkegaard et al., 2017. Soil mineral nitrogen benefits derived from legumes and comparisons of the apparent recovery of legume or fertiliser nitrogen by wheat. Soil Research 55:600-615
  21. Butterly, CR, LA Phillips, JL Wiltshire, AE Franks, et al. 2016. Long-term effects of elevated CO2 on C and N functional capacity of microbial communities in three contrasting soils. Soil Biol Biochem 97: 157-167. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2016.03.010
  22. Bissett, A, A Fitzgerald, T Meintjes, PM Mele, et al. 2016.  Introducing BASE: the Biomes of Australian Soil Environments soil microbial diversity database. GigaScience 5(1), 1 doi:10.1186/s13742-016-0126-5
  23. Hay, T, LA Phillips, B Nicholson, MD Jones. 2015. Ectomycorrhizal community structure and function in interior spruce forests of British Columbia under long term fertilization.  Forest Ecol Manag. 350: 87-95 doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2015.04.023
  24. Phillips, LA, M Fridman, C Schefe, N O’Halloran, et al. 2015. Organic nitrogen cycling microbial communities are abundant in a dry Australian agricultural soil. Soil Biol Biochem.  86: 201-211 doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.04.004

Key publications

  1. Schwarzfeld et al. 2022. The role of molecules, morphology and methodology in determining patterns of soil mite
    diversity. In: What lies beneath? The art and science of soil arthropods Program Symposium. Joint
    meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada and Entomological Society of America, Nov. 13-
    16, Vancouver, BC.

    2022 - View publication details

  2. Drury, C.F., Agomoh, I., Phillips, L., Reynolds, W.D. and X. Yang. 2022. Mitigation practices to reduce NH3 volatilization and N2O emissions from agricultural soils. Soil C and GHG Emissions Mitigation Modelling Workshop. November 4, 2021. Attendees:100.

    2021 - View publication details

  3. dx.doi.org/10.17504/protocols.io.btd2ni8e

    2021 - View publication details

  4. Phillips, L., Nelson, L. (2021). Introduction to special issue from rhizosphere 51. Canadian Journal of Microbiology, [online] 67(8), http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjm-2021-0117

    2021 - View publication details

  5. Zhang, H., Chen, W., Zhao, B., Phillips, L.A., Zhou, Y., Lapen, D.R., Liu, J. (2020). Sandy soils amended with bentonite induced changes in soil microbiota and fungistasis in maize fields. Applied Soil Ecology, [online] 146 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2019.103378

    2020 - View publication details

  6. Yang, X.M., Drury, C.F., Reynolds, W.D., Phillips, L.A. (2020). Nitrogen release from shoots and roots of crimson clover, hairy vetch, and red clover. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, [online] 100(3), 179-188. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjss-2019-0164

    2020 - View publication details

  7. Reynolds, W.D., Drury, C.F., Yang, X.M. and Phillips, L.A. 2017. On the description and determination of soil water field capacity. Oral Presentation to: Canadian Society of Soil Science, Annual Meetings, June 10-14, 2017, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

    2017 - View publication details

  8. Reynolds, W.D. 2017. Use of bimodal hydraulic property relationships to characterize soil physical quality. Geoderma 294, 38-49

    2016 - View publication details

  9. Drury, C.F., Reynolds, W.D., Yang, X.M., Rehmann, L., and L. Phillips. 2016. The effect of corn stover removal rate under conventional and no-tillage on corn grain yields and GHG emissions. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.

    2016 - View publication details

  10. Drury, Craig F. Girard, B., Woodley, A., Reynolds, W.D., Yang, X.M., Lalonde, C., Wellish, M., Rehman, L., and L. Phillips. 2016. Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada’s Bioeconomy Research Initiatives. Bioeconomy Research and Innovation Forum. Guelph, Ontario.

    2016 - View publication details

  11. Second Global Soil Biodiversity Conference Nanjing 2017/10/15 - 2017/10/19

    2016 - View publication details