Environmental and Ecological Engineering | Article | Published 2008-01-01
The effect of distance from a heavy metal pollution source on the soil nematode community (trophic structure, sex structure, and taxa composition) was investigated along a 15-km transect originating at the Almalyk Industrial Complex, Uzbekistan (pollution source). The soil nematode community was exposed to heavy metal influence both directly and through soil properties changes. Pollution effect on the density and biomass of soil free-living nematodes was found to be highest at pollution source, with fungivores and plant parasites dominating at the upper and deeper soil layers next to the pollution source. These groups decreased along the transect, yielding domination to bacteria- and fungi-feeders. The sex ratio of nematode communities was found to be dependent on heavy metal pollution levels, with the juveniles being the most sensitive nematode group. The Maturity and modified Maturity Indices, reflecting the degree of disturbance of the soil ecosystem, were found to be the most sensitive indices.