Plant and Soil

, Volume 373, Issue 1–2, pp 907–918 | Cite as

Response of soil nematodes to elevated temperature in conventional and no-tillage cropland systems

  • Zhaoke Dong
  • Ruixing Hou
  • Qunying Chen
  • Zhu Ouyang
  • Feng Ge
Regular Article



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.


Climate 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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhaoke Dong
    • 1
  • Ruixing Hou
    • 2
    • 3
  • Qunying Chen
    • 1
  • Zhu Ouyang
    • 2
    • 3
  • Feng Ge
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of ZoologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Yucheng Comprehensive Experiment StationChina Academy of ScienceBeijingChina

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