Nematode Population Fluctuations during Decomposition of Specific Organic Amendments


  • R. McSorley
  • J. J. Frederick


bacterivores, fungivores, nematode community, omnivores, plant parasitics, predators, soil ecology, trophic groups


Population densities of nematodes in field soil without plants were monitored for 10 months following application of organic amendments to pots in a greenhouse. The four treatments consisted of three different kinds of organic amendments: homogeneous crop residues of maize (Zea mays, C:N = 48.0:1), Texas panicum (Panicum texanum, C:N = 32.9:1), or velvetbean (Mucuna pruriens, C:N = 18.6:1), plus a control without any amendment. Plant-parasitic nematodes declined in all treatments due to absence of a food source. Bacterivore numbers increased following amendment application and remained greater than initial population levels until 4 months after application. Fungivore numbers were higher than initial levels until 6 months after amendment application and did not decline below the initial numbers during the course of the experiment. On several sampling dates, the bacterivorous genera Cervidellus and Eucephalobus were most abundant in pots with maize residues. Among the fungivores, Aphelenchoides numbers early in the experiment were greatest in pots amended with velvetbean, whereas numbers of Aphelenchus, Nothotylenchus, and Tylenchidae (mainly Filenchus) were greatest during the latter half of the experiment following the maize amendment. Omnivorous nematodes, particularly Eudorylaimus, showed two peaks in abundance during the course of the experiment. Results provided some evidence that population levels of some genera of bacterivores and fungivores may be affected by specific organic amendments.