Geological and Environmental Engineering | Conference paper | Published 2017

FREE-LIVING NEMATODES AS THE BEST BIOLOGICAL TOOLS FOR ASSESSING SOIL DISTURBANCES

Authors:

R Meller

R Li

Stanislav Pen-Mouratov

Yosef Steinberger

Keywords: Soil pollution, soil free living nematodes, bioindicators, biological tools for soil contamination

Abstract

Numerous studies have shown that soil-free-living nematode communities are among the best biological tools for assessing soil ecosystem disturbances, including such prominent factors as intensive livestock trampling and industrial contamination. Livestock grazing and trampling are important factors in the formation and development of different terrestrial ecosystems. However, despite numerous studies on soil compaction, there is still no consensus as to which kind of effect (positive or negative) animal trampling exerts on soil nematodes. Various ecological studies have reached the conclusion that industrial contamination exerts significant effects on soil nematode trophic and species abundance and diversity. The main goal of this study was to compare similarities and differences between the effects of livestock activity and industrial contamination on a soil nematode community and to evaluate the protective effect of the vegetation cover. Our results demonstrate that livestock activity and industrial contamination exert significant, separate, and integrated effects on soil nematode abundance, genera, and trophic diversity. However, the negative impact of the disturbances on soil nematode communities has been attenuated due to the protective effect of vegetation cover. The diversity indices indicated an increase in the contribution of rare species to the undisturbed area, while in the disturbed area, the common nematodes were the main contribution to the soil ecosystem. The omnivore-predators, which are characterized by hypersensitivity to different disturbances in ecosystems, were very scanty compared to the other trophic groups in the industrial area, especially near the source of contamination, but, surprisingly, were relatively numerous in the livestock area.

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