Abiotic Soil Factors and Plant-parasitic Nematode Communities

Don C. Norton


A natural community of plant-parasitic nematodes is usually polyspecific. The host plant is the most important driving force in nematode populations, but abiotic factors are important in maintaining the steady state. Nematode communities often separate by abiotic soil factors. In any continuous habitat, including crop plants, generally there is a consistency of the most abundant species, which are largely predictable. Data on single species provide little information about community patterns. Although certain nematode species might be indicators of certain environments, only when we discuss such aspects as diversity and ordination do we relate to communities irrespective of any interactions among component species. Only if plant-parasitic nematodes act independently of each other do autecological studies have validity in polyspecific communities. Key words: community, diversity, abiotic factor, ecology.

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