, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 617-630

Soil nematode biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems

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Abstract

A review of the literature on nematode diversity (=number of species identified) of soil inhabiting nematodes was undertaken and analysed with regard to distance from the equator, vegetation type and sampling effort. After applying a correction factor for sampling effort the results indicated that species richness was greatest in temperate broadleaf forest (61.7 species per sample) followed by cultivated soil, grassland, tropical rainforest, temperate coniferous forests and polar vegetation. The maintenance of high biodiversity in cultivated soils is unexpected but may reflect the impact of dominance in calculating many indices. Species richness was greatest between latitudes 30–40° (93.9 species per sample) and least above 70°, the mean richness near the equator (i.e. 0–10°) was 80.6 species per sample. While these data would suggest that nematode diversity is not necessarily greatest at the equator, and evidence to support a 'humped back' theory of species richness is not conclusive, they contradict the suggestion that nematode diversity increases with increased latitude.