Plant Roots Increase Bacterivorous Nematode Dispersion through Nonuniform Glass-bead Media

Jean Trap, Laetitia Bernard, Alain Brauman, Anne-Laure Pablo, Claude Plassard, Mahafaka Patricia Ranoarisoa, Eric Blanchart

Abstract


Dispersion of bacterivorous nematodes in soil is a crucial ecological process that permits settlement and exploitation of new bacterial-rich patches. Although plant roots, by modifying soil structure, are likely to influence this process, they have so far been neglected. In this study, using an original three-compartment microcosm experimental design and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) bars to mimic plant roots, we tested the ability of roots to improve the dispersion of bacterivorous nematode populations through two wet, nonuniform granular (glass bead) media imitating contrasting soil textures.We showed that artificial roots increased migration time of bacterivorous nematode populations in the small-bead medium, suggesting that plant roots may play an important role in nematode dispersion in fine-textured soils or when soil compaction is high.

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