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The influence of nematodes on below-ground processes in grassland ecosystems.

Bardgett, Richard D. and Cook, Roger and Yeates, Gregor W. and Denton, Crystal S. (1999) The influence of nematodes on below-ground processes in grassland ecosystems. Plant and Soil, 212 (1). pp. 23-33. ISSN 0032-079X

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Abstract

This review summarises recent information on beneficial roles that soil nematodes play in the cycling of carbon and other plant nutrients in grassland ecosystems. In particular, we focus on the role of the two dominant functional groups of nematodes, namely the microbial- and root-feeders, and how their activities may enhance soil ecosystem-level processes of nutrient cycling and, ultimately, plant productivity in managed and unmanaged grassland ecosystems. We report recent experiments which show that low amounts of root herbivory by nematodes can increase the allocation of photoassimilate carbon to roots, leading to increased root exudation and microbial activity in the rhizosphere. The effects of these interactions on soil nutrient cycling and plant productivity are discussed. Evidence is presented to show that the feeding activities of microbial-feeding nematodes can enhance nutrient mineralization and plant nutrient uptake in grasslands, but that these responses are highly species-specific and appear to be strongly regulated by higher trophic groups of fauna (top-down regulation). We recommend that future studies of the roles of nematodes in grasslands ecosystems should consider these more complex trophic interactions and also the effects of species diversity of nematodes on soil ecosystem-level processes.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Plant and Soil
Uncontrolled Keywords: ecosystem - grasslands - microorganisms - mineralization - nematodes - roots - soil
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 10322
Deposited By: Prof Richard Bardgett
Deposited On: 10 Jul 2008 16:34
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 10:49
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/10322

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