Community-level Physiological Profiles (CLPP) were constructed of bacterial communities from potato ridge soil, potato bulk soil, woodland soil and non-sterile sand. The bacterial profile in ridge soil was shown to be significantly different to that of bulk soil from the same field in terms of overall activity and diversity. Woodland soil was shown to be the most functionally diverse of the four substrates tested. A second experiment was designed to determine the temporal changes in soil bacterial communities in potato ridge and bulk soil over the growing season. Cluster analysis and principal component analysis were used to differentiate between bacterial communities at different stages of plant development. Emergence of plants above ground and the onset of flowering were shown to alter the functional diversity of soil microbial communities. Further work in this area is recommended to examine the impact of plant development on soil bacterial communities. This is particularly timely given the emergence of novel, biological control methods for the management of important soil-borne plant pests.