James I. Prosser

James Ivor Prosser (born July 1951)[1] FRS[2] FRSE OBE is a Professor in Environmental Microbiology in the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen.[3][4]

Jim Prosser
Jim Prosser at the Royal Society admissions day in London in 2016
BornJuly 1951 (age 68)[1]


Prosser studied Microbiology at Queen Elizabeth College in London and was awarded a PhD from the University of Liverpool for research supervised by Tim Gray.[2]


Professor Prosser is a microbial ecologist who has made significant contributions to our understanding of the diversity and ecosystem function of microorganisms in natural environments.[5][6][7][8][9]

A major focus of his research has been the ecology of soil nitrifying bacteria and archaea,[4][10] which significantly reduce the efficiency of nitrogen fertilisers and generate greenhouse gases. His research has determined links between the remarkably high diversity of soil ammonia oxidisers and their ecosystem function and he has demonstrated niche specialisation and differentiation in bacterial and archaeal ammonia oxidisers.[2]

Prosser's research exploits laboratory experimental systems to test ecological concepts and he has developed molecular biology techniques for characterisation of the diversity and activities of complex communities of microorganisms, most of which cannot be cultivated.[2]

Awards and honours

Prosser was appointed Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to environmental science in the 2013 New Year Honours.[11] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh[when?], the Royal Society of Biology,[when?] the American Academy of Microbiology[3][when?] and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2016.[2]

Prosser has served as director of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS) and the Microbiology Society.[1]


  1. "James Ivor PROSSER". London: Companies House. Archived from the original on 18 May 2016.
  2. Anon (2016). "Professor James Prosser OBE FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:
    "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. "Professor James Prosser: Chair in Molecular & Cell Biology". Aberdeen: abdn.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014.
  4. James I. Prosser publications indexed by Google Scholar
  5. G. A. Kowalchuk; J. R. Stephen; W. De Boer; J. I. Prosser; T. M. Embley; J. W. Woldendorp (1997). "Analysis of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria of the beta subdivision of the class Proteobacteria in coastal sand dunes by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and sequencing of PCR-amplified 16S ribosomal DNA fragments". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 63 (4): 1489–1497. PMC 168443. PMID 9097446.
  6. Girvan, M. S.; Campbell, C. D.; Killham, K.; Prosser, J. I.; Glover, L. A. (2005). "Bacterial diversity promotes community stability and functional resilience after perturbation". Environmental Microbiology. 7 (3): 301–313. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2005.00695.x. PMID 15683391.
  7. Batchelor, S. E.; Cooper, M; Chhabra, S. R.; Glover, L. A.; Stewart, G. S.; Williams, P; Prosser, J. I. (1997). "Cell density-regulated recovery of starved biofilm populations of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 63 (6): 2281–6. PMC 168521. PMID 9172348.
  8. McCaig, A. E.; Glover, L. A.; Prosser, J. I. (2001). "Numerical analysis of grassland bacterial community structure under different land management regimens by using 16S ribosomal DNA sequence data and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis banding patterns". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 67 (10): 4554–4559. doi:10.1128/AEM.67.10.4554-4559.2001. PMC 93202. PMID 11571155.
  9. Rattray, E. A.; Prosser, J. I.; Killham, K; Glover, L. A. (1990). "Luminescence-based nonextractive technique for in situ detection of Escherichia coli in soil". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 56 (11): 3368–74. PMC 184955. PMID 2268151.
  10. Leininger, S.; Urich, T.; Schloter, M.; Schwark, L.; Qi, J.; Nicol, G. W.; Prosser, J. I.; Schuster, S. C.; Schleper, C. (2006). "Archaea predominate among ammonia-oxidizing prokaryotes in soils". Nature. 442 (7104): 806–809. doi:10.1038/nature04983. PMID 16915287.
  11. "No. 60367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2012. p. 13.