Estimating Relative Error in Nematode Numbers from Single Soil Samples Composed of Multiple Cores

R. McSorley, J. L. Parrado


Spatial distributions of several species of plant-parasitic nematodes were determined in each of three fallow vegetable fields and in smaller subunits of those fields. Goodness of fit to each of several theoretical distributions was tested hy means of a X² test. Distributions for most species showed good agreement with a negative binomial model. An exception occurred with Crictmemella sp., which showed a better fit to the Neyman Type A distribution. For nematodes distributed according to the negative binomial model, the number of cores per composite sample needed to achieve specified relative errors was calculated. For a given nematode species, such as Quinisulcius actus (Allen) Siddiqi or Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood, the k values for the negative binomial distribution increased as field size decreased, with the result that fewer cores were needed to achieve the same level of precision in a smaller field. Best results were achieved when the single sample was used to estimate populations in fields of 0.25-0.45 ha in size. When using only a single composite sample to estimate mixed populations of the nematodes studied here in a field of that size, approximately 22 cores per composite sample would be needed to estimate all population means within a standard error to mean ratio of 25%. Considerably, more cores were needed to maintain a given level of precision in fields of 1.0 ha or greater, and it may be necessary to subdivide larger unils (ca. 1.5 ha and up) for accurate sampling. Key words: spatial distribution, negative binomial distribution, Neyman Type A distribution, Criconemella sp., Helicotylenchus dihhystera, Meloidogyne incognita, Quinisulcius acutus, Rotylenchulus reniformis.

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