Response of soil nematodes to elevated temperature in conventional and no-tillage cropland systems
Nematodes are sensitive to environmental changes and are strongly affected by tillage practices. However, it remains unclear whether an increase in soil temperature in conventional tillage (CT) and no-tillage (NT) cropland systems would have a significant effect on nematode communities. The response of soil nematodes to increases in temperature will provide valuable information about probable changes in soil ecology under global warming.
A field experiment using infrared heaters to simulate climate warming was performed in North China. The impacts of predicted warming on the nematode community in CT and NT systems were measured during the growing season of maize.
The results showed that the diversity of nematodes responded positively to warming in both tillage systems early in the maize growing season, though the diversity in NT declined due to warming late in the growing season. However, no significant warming effects were found on the total nematode density, individual feeding group density or functional indices. Compared to CT, NT presented a rather different nematode community that was characterized by a large nematode diversity, low fungal feeder density due to a strong decrease in Aphelenchoides, and high maturity indices.
Tillage is an important factor that influences the soil properties and nematode community. It is proposed that future global warming with soil temperature increasing approximately 1 °C will have only small effects on soil nematodes in the two tillage systems.
KeywordsClimate change Diversity Nematode community Soil properties Functional indices
We thank Mr. Nong Zhu for his assistance with the experiments. We also thank Dr. Yucheng Sun, Bing Yang and Fang Ouyang for useful discussions regarding the manuscript. This project was supported by the Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Science (KSCX2-EW-Z-6), the National High Technology Research and Development Program (2013AA102903), the Innovation Program of the Beijing Institutes of Life Science, CAS (2010-Biols-CAS-0102) and the National Nature Science Fund of China (No. 31030012).
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