ADAPTATIONS OF NEMATODES TO ENVIRONMENTAL EXTREMES

Robert McSorley

Abstract


Nematodes are a highly diverse group of organisms that show a variety of adaptations to extremes in soil and plant environments. Developmental dormancy and diapause are important for seasonal survival and long-term longevity of eggs in some species, whereas changing sex ratios may improve survival chances of the next generation in some instances. More direct and immediate responses to environmental conditions include aggregation or the formation of relatively resistant dauer larvae. Many nematodes can undergo temporary quiescence in response to environmental stress, and entry into anhydrobiosis or other extreme states allows long-term survival in unusually stressful environments. These inactive survival stages may make up a substantial proportion of the nematode population in some terrestrial environments.

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