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Nematode soil faunal analysis of decomposition pathways in different ecosystems

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For more content, see Nematologica.

Carbon flow via decomposition of organic matter proceeds through different energy channels depending on the input and turnover rate of plant material. Generally, energy channels in grasslands are considered to be bacteria-dominated, whereas in forests the importance of fungal decomposition increases. Agroecosystems are regarded as intermediate. This hypothesis was tested using indices based on nematode faunal analysis that have been proposed as indicators of decomposition pathways. The ratio of fungal- to bacterial-feeding nematodes and the channel index (Ferris et al., 2001) were calculated from a range of studies, taking into account 131 different sites or sampling times. No distinct differences in the fungal- to bacterial-feeder ratio between grassland, field and forest were observed. However, the channel index indicated a fungal-based energy channel in coniferous forest sites. Generally, the results suggest that soil and climate affect nematode faunal indices more strongly than ecosystem type.


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