François Teste

Image François Philippe Teste
Research Scientist - Soil Ecology

Studying the role of soil microbes and plant-soil relations in improving the sustainability of agriculture practices and forage cropping systems.

Current research and/or projects

  • Plant-soil feedback in native pastures of the mixed grasslands of the Canadian prairies
  • Belowground mechanisms in the role of native plants in agro-ecosystems: from deep soil carbon sequestration to weed management and beyond
  • Role of of deep roots and soil microbes in rock weathering 

Seeking funding for the following projects:

  • Towards a green and feasible restoration of saline soil using soil microbes and nucleation seeding
  • Improving intercropping by matching complementary root and soil microbial traits
  • Mycorrhizal inoculations: developping a site-specific approach for low-input cropping systems of the south-west Saskatchewan

Research and/or project statements

Agricultural nature-based solutions for the Prairie Ecoregions (Living Labs - SODCAP research project: 2022-2027)

Plant-soil feedback in native pastures of the mixed grasslands of the Canadian prairies (AAFC startup: 2022-2023)

Development of native and tame forage varieties and mixtures for improved forage and environmental productivity and resilience (BCRC  cluster: 2022 final year)

Integrated management of root rot in pulse crops incorporating biopesticide products (Saskatchewan Pulse Growers: 2022-2024)

Rock weathering by alien pines and fungi in dry grasslands: are invasive organisms expanding habitable soil? (National Geographic Society Small Grant: 2022 final year)

Professional activities / interests

Low-input and sustainable agriculture

Restoration of marginal land


Plant-soil relationships

Soil microbial ecology

Education and awards

PhD at the University of British Columbia

MSc at Simon Fraser University

BSc at Université de Montréal

International experience and/or work


New Zealand



Key publications

  • Trevenen, E. J., Veneklaas, E. J., Teste, F. P., Dobrowolski, M. P., Mucina, L., & Renton, M. (2022). Positive heterospecific interactions can increase long-term diversity of plant communities more than negative conspecific interactions alone. Functional Ecology, 36, 159– 173.


  • Teste FP, Lambers H, Enowashu E, Laliberté E, Marhan S, Kandeler E. 2021. Soil microbial communities are driven by the declining availability of cations and phosphorus during ecosystem retrogression. Soil Biology & Biochemistry (


  • Teste FP and Laliberté E. (accepted on June 25, 2021). A test of the Janzen-Connell hypothesis in a species-rich Mediterranean woodland. (ECY21-0140, accepted).


  • Teste FP, Dixon KW, Lambers H, Zhou J, Veneklaas EJ. 2020. The potential for phosphorus benefits through root placement in the rhizosphere of phosphorus-mobilising neighbours. Oecologia. 193:843–855.


  • Teste FP, Jones MD, Dickie IA. 2020. Tansley review: Dual-mycorrhizal plants: their relevance and ecology. New Phytologist 225: 1835–1851.


  • Teste FP and Laliberté E. (2019). Plasticity in root symbioses following shifts in soil nutrient availability during long-term ecosystem development. Journal of Ecology 107: 633-649. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13103.


  • Lambers H, Albornoz F, Kotula L, Laliberté E, Ranathunge K, Teste FP, Zemunik G (2017) How belowground interactions contribute to the coexistence of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal species in severely phosphorus-impoverished hyperdiverse ecosystems. Plant and Soil 424: 11-33. DOI 10.1007/s11104-017-3427-2.


  • Laliberté E, Kardol P. Didham RK, Teste FP, Turner BL, Wardle DA (2017), Soil fertility shapes belowground food webs across a regional climate gradient. Ecology Letters 20: 1273-1284. DOI 10.1111/ele.12823.


  • Teste FP, Kardol P, Turner BL, Wardle DA, Zemunik G, Renton M., Laliberté E (2017) Plant-soil feedback and the maintenance of diversity in Mediterranean-climate shrublands. Science 355 (6321): 173-176. DOI 10.1126/science.aai8291.


  • Teste FP (2016) Restoring grasslands with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi around remnant patches. Applied Vegetation Science 19: 3-4. DOI 10.1111/avsc.12211.


  • Teste FP, Laliberté E, Lambers H, Auer Y, Kramer S, Kandeler E (2016). Mycorrhizal fungal biomass and scavenging declines in phosphorus-impoverished soils during ecosystem retrogression. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 92: 119-132. DOI 10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.09.021.

Research facility

1 Airport Road
Swift Current, SK S9H 3X2


The University of Western Australia

National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina (“Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)” in Spanish)



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