Suppression of nematodes in a coastal grassland soil

  • B. A. JaffeeEmail author
  • J. L. Bastow
  • D. R. Strong
Original Paper


The nematophagous fungi Arthrobotrys oligospora and Myzocytiopsis glutinospora increase to large numbers (>103 propagules/g of soil) when moth larvae killed by entomopathogenic nematodes are added to soil microcosms. In spite of these increases, it is unclear how effective these nematophagous fungi are in suppressing nematodes. We measured nematode mortality in microcosms with small numbers of assay nematodes, and we examined assay nematodes recovered at the end of the experiment for signs of fungal parasites. Because the microcosms did not have a moat or other refuge, the assay nematodes remained vulnerable for the 3 days that they were in the soil. Mortality in this experiment was not substantially increased compared to a previous experiment, which measured the mortality of a larger number of assay nematodes in microcosms surrounded by a moat. Mortality, however, increased from 34 to 50% when recovered assay nematodes were examined and when those with conidia of the nematophagous fungus Hirsutella rhossiliensis were considered dead. The zoosporic fungus M. glutinospora was not detected, perhaps because the soil water potential was too low. Contrary to our expectations, there was no evidence of negative feedback on nematodes (i.e., no evidence of density-dependent mortality) because the addition of dead moth larvae greatly increased numbers of resident nematodes and A. oligospora but did not greatly affect the probability of nematode mortality.


Bacterivorous Biological control Density-dependent mortality Entomopathogenic Fungi Fungivorous Negative feedback Nematode Nematode-trapping Nematophagous 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NematologyUniversity of California at DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.Center for Population BiologyUniversity of California at DavisDavisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Evolution and EcologyUniversity of California at DavisDavisUSA

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