Relationships between labile soil organic matter and nematode communities in a California oak woodland

in Nematology
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Labile soil organic matter (SOM) is an important energy source for below-ground ecosystems but the association of labile SOM and nematode communities is poorly characterised. In this study, soil nematode communities and nematode-derived indices of ecosystem function were characterised and related to SOM lability in an undisturbed riparian woodland (California, USA). SOM lability was assessed by microbial biomass C (MBC), permanganate-oxidisable C (POXC), extractable organic C (EOC), and diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform (DRIFT) spectroscopy. The channel index, which measures the ratio of bacterial-feeding to fungal-feeding nematodes in cp groups 1 and 2, respectively, decreased with labile C fractions and aliphatic C-H enrichment (infrared absorbance at 2920 cm−1) but increased with aromatic C=C enrichment (1620 cm−1) and index of decomposition (2930:1620 cm−1), as did the nematode structure index. These results indicate that nematode communities respond to variation in labile C fractions and SOM composition across a heterogeneous natural landscape, which may reflect observed differences in SOM lability among woody plant species.

Relationships between labile soil organic matter and nematode communities in a California oak woodland

in Nematology

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Figures

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    Nematode food web analysis of taxa isolated from surface soils (0-7.5 cm) in riparian woodland at the Audubon Bobcat Ranch Reserve in Yolo County, CA, USA. Communities with enrichment indices (EI) over 50 are considered more N-enriched, whilst those with structure indices over 50% are either mature or maturing. Symbols represent different tree species, circle = blue oak, triangle = live oak, square = manzanita, x = redbud, and circle within a square = toyon.

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    Principle components analysis of nematode indices, carbon pools and average band areas corresponding to specific soil organic matter (SOM) functional groups. CI = Nematode Channel Index, SI = Nematode Structure Index, EI = Nematode Enrichment Index. The band area centred at 1620 cm−1 ranges from 1660-1580 cm−1 and corresponds to aromatic C=C,with potential contributions from amide C=O. The band centred at 2920 cm−1 ranges from 3010-2810 cm−1 and corresponds to aliphatic C-H. The humification index, or HI, is the ratio of two band areas (1620 cm−1:2930 cm−1) and increases with the degree of decomposition.

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    Correlation coefficient (Pearson R) between nematode indices and absorbance of surface soils (n = 50) measured by diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform (DRIFT) spectroscopy. SI = nematode Structure Index, which increases with the proportion of predators and indicates more mature communities. CI = nematode Channel Index, which measures the ratio of fungal feeders to bacterial-feeders in the population in cp groups 1 and 2, respectively. Soil samples (0-7.5 cm depth) are from undisturbed riparian woodland at the Audubon Bobcat Ranch Reserve in Yolo County, CA, USA. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/15685411.

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