Diversity and ecological interactions of soil and forest litter nematodes from a Scottish woodland

V. Krivtsov, N. D. Romanenko


Heron Wood (Peebleshire, Scotland) is part of the Dawyck Botanic Garden (Ordnance Survey grid reference NT(36)175355), which is situated on the Silurian rock system characteristic of the Scottish Borders. It lies on a NW slope of a hill covered with shallow stony soils, which are acidic and almost lime-free. The dominant vegetation is represented by beech (Fagus) and birch (Betula), with oaks (Quercus) being subdominant. Our analysis revealed 50 genera of nematodes belonging to six orders (Tylenchida, Rhabditida, Teratocephalida, Araeolaimida, Enoplida, and Dorylaimida). Five main ecologico-trophical groups revealed were: bacterial feeders, fungal feeders, plant feeders, animal predators and omnivores. In the forest litter, bacterial feeders were represented by fourteen genera (29.8%), animal predators by eleven genera (23.4%), omnivores by nine genera (19.1%), fungal feeders by four genera (8.5%), and plant feeding nematodes by nine genera (19.1%). In the soil, bacterial feeders (seven genera = 35%) and omnivores (seven genera = 35%) were the dominant groups. The representation of the other trophic groups in the soil varied from 5% (one genus of fungal feeders) to 10% (two genera of predators) and 15% (plant feeders - three genera). In comparison with the litter, there was a considerable decrease of taxonomic diversity in the soil (in soil only twenty genera of nematodes were revealed, while in leaf litter 47 were revealed). There were also remarkable differences in the recorded ecological interactions. These results may provide a valuable reference for further ecological and biodiversity studies.

Full Text: