Ecology of Nematodes Under Influence of Cucurbita spp. and Different Fertilizer Types


  • D. L. Porazinska
  • D. C. Coleman


In a field study conducted in Georgia, cucurbit plants with high (Cucurbita andreana) and low (Cucurbita maxima) concentrations of cucurbitacins were used in combination with two types of fertilizers to investigate their effects on the community of soil nematodes. Ecological measures of soil nematode community structure such as total nematode abundance, number of genera, trophic diversity, trophic group proportions, fungivore/bacterivore ratio, and modified maturity index were assessed and compared among treatments. In general, poultry manure (an organic source of nitrogen) and synthetic fertilizer (a nonorganic source of nitrogen) did not differ in their effects on the nematode communities throughout one growing season. Few differences between the two plant species were found for any of the nematode community measurements. Bacterial- and fungal-feeding nematodes were the most abundant trophic groups, averaging 60% and 20% of the nematode community, respectively. Trophic diversity, nematode maturity index, and fungivore/ bacterivore values were lowest at the beginning and highest at the end of the experiment. Key words: Cucurbita andreana, cucurbitacins, Cucurbita maxima, ecology, fertilizer, nematode, secondary plant metabolite.