Nematode Genera in Forest Soil Respond Differentially to Elevated CO2.

Deborah A. Neher, Thomas R. Weicht


Previous reports suggest that fungivorous nematodes are the only trophic group in forest soils affected by elevated CO2. However, there can be ambiguity within trophic groups, and we examined data at a genus level to determine whether the conclusion remains similar. Nematodes were extracted from roots and soil of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) forests fumigated with either ambient air or CO2-enriched air. Root length and nematode biomass were estimated using video image analysis. Most common genera included Acrobeloides, Aphelenchoides, Cephalobus, Ditylenchus, Ecphyadorphora, Filenchus, Plectus, Prismatolaimus, and Tylencholaimus. Maturity Index values and diversity increased with elevated CO2 in loblolly pine but decreased with elevated CO2 in sweet gum forests. Elevated CO2 treatment affected the occurrence of more nematode genera in sweet gum than loblolly pine forests. Numbers were similar but size of Xiphinema decreased in elevated CO2. Abundance, but not biomass, of Aphelenchoides was reduced by elevated CO2. Treatment effects were apparent at the genus levels that were masked at the trophic level. For example, bacterivores were unaffected by elevated CO2, but abundance of Cephalobus was affected by CO2 treatment in both forests.

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