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Influence of bacterivorous nematodes on the decomposition of cordgrass
De Mesel, I.G.; Derycke, S.; Swings, J.; Vincx, M.; Moens, T. (2003). Influence of bacterivorous nematodes on the decomposition of cordgrass. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 296(2): 227-242. dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0022-0981(03)00338-1
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • De Mesel, I.G.; Derycke, S.; Swings, J.; Vincx, M.; Moens, T. (2003). Influence of bacterivorous nematodes on the decomposition of cordgrass, in: De Mesel, I.G. (2004). Nematoden geassocieerd met fytodetritus in schorren: kolonisatiepatronen en soort- en diversiteitsafhankelijke invloed op afbraakprocessen = Nematodes associated with phytodetritus in salt marshes: colonization patterns and species- and diversity related impacts on decomposition processes. pp. 10-29, more

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 247130 [ OMA ]

Keywords
Author keywords
    bacteria; bacterivorous nematode; decomposition; microcosm experiment; Spartina

Authors  Top 

Abstract
    The influence of bacterivorous nematodes (Diplolaimelloides meyli, Diplolaimelloides oschei, Diplolaimella dievengatensis, Panagrolaimus paetzoldi) on the decomposition of a macrophyte (Spartina anglica) in an aquatic environment was investigated by using laboratory microcosm experiments. Several earlier studies have shown enhancement of the decomposition process in the presence of nematodes, but nematode species-specific effects were never tested. In this study four bacterivorous nematode species were applied separately to microcosms to investigate such species-specific influences. No stimulation of the decomposition process nor of the microbial community was observed in the presence of the nematodes, both were highest in the absence of nematodes. However, clear differences were found between nematode treatments. P. paetzoldi reached much higher numbers than the other species, causing a decrease in microbial activity, probably due to (over)grazing. Remarkably this low microbial activity did not result in a slow-down of the decomposition process compared to the other nematode treatments, raising the question whether P. paetzoldi might be able to directly assimilate detrital compounds. Other nematode species reached much lower densities, but nevertheless an influence on the decomposition process was observed. However, this experiment does not support the view that bacterivorous nematodes enhance decomposition rate. The experimental results show that in nematode communities the use of functional groups is inadequate for biodiversity studies. The four nematode species used in this study belong to the same functional group, but are clearly not functionally redundant since they all have a different influence on the cordgrass decomposition. This suggests that the relationship between nematode species diversity and ecosystem functioning may be idiosyncratic.

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