Australasian Plant Pathology

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 298–307 | Cite as

Regional patterns among soil nematode assemblages in Australasian pastures and effects of management practices



Abundance, composition and diversity of nematode assemblages at 58 sites from five Australasian regions (New Zealand, South Australia, coastal southern Australia, New South Wales and Queensland) are analysed with particular reference to rainfall, pasture type and proportions of plant-, bacterial- and fungal-feeders. Nematode abundance was generally related to plant production or surrogates such as soil carbon concentration. Diversity was lowest in Queensland, where absolute abundance was lower than expected, given the carbon concentrations in the soil. The composition of the nematode community indicated that bacterial-mediated decomposition was more important in coastal southern Australia (winter-spring rainfall) than in northern New South Wales (summer-dominant rainfall). Within the southern region, the contribution of bacteria relative to fungi increased with sward legume content. Cephalobidae were the most abundant bacterial-feeders in every region. Across 11 non-irrigated New Zealand sites and the 40 Australian sites, Rhabditidae showed strong correlations with rainfall. Conversely, under drier conditions, fungal-feeding nematodes were more important, as expected where plant residues are less readily decomposed. While the low contribution of plant-feeding nematodes in coastal southern Australia may be related to sampling time, suppressive factors in the soil may have contributed. Simple cluster analysis placed 40 of the 58 sites into discrete regional clusters, but local climate and soil conditions, on both the ancient Australian and young New Zealand landscapes, explain other groupings. Impacts of elevated carbon dioxide and intensification of land management on nematode abundance and functional groups are also described.

Additional keywords

clover fescue grass lucerne microbe NCR Panagrolaimidae Paratylenchus Plectidae Pratylenchus Shannon-Weiner soil fertility soil processes Tylenchidae Tylenchorhynchus 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bardgett RD (2005) ‘The biology of soil.’ (Oxford University Press: Oxford)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bell M, Seymour N, Stirling GR, Stirling AM, van Zwieten L, Vancov T, Sutton G, Moody P (2006) Impacts of management on soil biota in Vertosols supporting the broadacre grains industry in northern Australia. Australian Journal of Soil Research 44, 433–451. doi: 10.1071/SR05137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell NL, Watson RN (2001) Population dynamics of Paratylenchus nanus in soil under pasture. 1. Aggregation and abiotic factors. Nematology 3, 187–197. doi: 10.1163/156854101750236321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blair BL, Stirling GR, Whittle PJL (1999a) Distribution of pest nematodes on sugarcane in south Queensland and relationship to soil texture, cultivar, crop age and region. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 39, 43–49. doi: 10.1071/ea98085CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blair BL, Stirling GR, Pattemore JA, Whittle PJL (1999b) Occurrence of pest nematodes in Burdekin and central Queensland sugarcane fields. Proceedings of the Australian Society of Sugarcane Technologists 21, 227–233.Google Scholar
  6. Boag B, Yeates GW (1998) Soil nematode biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems. Biodiversity and Conservation 7, 617–630. doi: 10.1023/A:1008852301349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bouwman LA, Zwart KB (1994) The ecology of bacterivorous protozoans and nematodes in arable soil. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 51, 145–160. doi: 10.1016/0167-8809(94)90040-XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cook R, Yeates GW (1993) Nematode pests of grasslands and forage crops. In ‘Plant parasitic nematodes in temperate agriculture’. (Eds K Evans, DL Trudgill, JM Webster) pp. 305–350. (CAB International: Wallingford, UK)Google Scholar
  9. Doblas-Miranda E, Wardle DA, Peltzer DA, Yeates GW (2008) Changes in the community structure and diversity of soil invertebrates across the Franz Josef Glacier chronosequence. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, in press. doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2007.11.026Google Scholar
  10. Drigo B, Kowalchuk GA, Yergeau E, Bezemer TM, Boschker HTS, Van Veen JA (2007) Impact of elevated carbon dioxide on the rhizosphere communities of Carex arenaria and Festuca rubra. Global Change Biology 13, 2396–2410. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2007.01445.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ferris H, Bongers T, de Goede RGM (2001) A framework for soil food web diagnostics: extension of the nematode faunal analysis concept. Applied Soil Ecology 18, 13–29. doi: 10.1016/S0929-1393(01)00152-4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Freckman DW, Ettema CH (1993) Assessing nematode communities is agroecosystems of varying human intervention. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 45, 239–261. doi: 10.1016/0167-8809(93)90074-YCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gaston KJ, Spicer JI (2004) ‘Biodiversity: an introduction.’ 2nd edn. (Blackwell: Oxford)Google Scholar
  14. Georgieva SS, McGrath SP, Hooper DJ, Chambers BS (2002) Nematode communities under stress: the long-term effects of heavy metals in soil treated with sewage sludge. Applied Soil Ecology 20, 27–42. doi: 10.1016/S0929-1393(02)00005-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goodey T (1963) ‘Soil and freshwater nematodes.’ 2nd edn. (Methuen: London)Google Scholar
  16. Griffiths BS, Neilson R, Bengough AG (2003) Soil factors determined nematode community composition in a two year pot experiment. Nematology 5, 889–897. doi: 10.1163/156854103773040808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Holland EA, Coleman DC (1987) Litter placement effects on microbial and organic-matter dynamics in an agroecosystem. Ecology 68, 425–433. doi: 10.2307/1939274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McLeish LJ, Berg GN, Hinch JM, Nambiar LV, Norton MR (1997) Plant parasitic nematodes in white clover and soil from white clover pastures in Australia. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 37, 75–82. doi: 10.1071/EA96046CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mercer CF, Bell NL, Yeates GW (2008) Plant-parasitic nematodes on pasture in New Zealand. Australasian Plant Pathology 37, 279–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mianowska-Dmowska E (1980) The effect of some ecological factors on relationships between Panagrolaimus rigidus (Schneider 1866) Thorne, 1937 (Nematoda: Panagrolaimidae) and higher plants. Polish Ecological Studies 6, 437–462.Google Scholar
  21. Moens T, Yeates GW, De Ley P (2004) Use of carbon and energy sources by nematodes. Nematology Monographs and Perspectives 2, 529–545.Google Scholar
  22. Neher DA (1999) Nematode communities in organically and conventionally managed agricultural soils. Journal of Nematology 31, 142–154.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Neher DA (2001) Role of nematodes in soil health and their use as indicators. Journal of Nematology 33, 161–168.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Neher DA, Easterling KN, Fiscus D, Campbell CL (1998) Comparison of nematode communities in agricultural soils of North Carolina and Nebraska. Ecological Applications 8, 213–223. doi: 10.1890/1051-0761(1998)008[0213:CONCIA]2.0.CO;2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Neher DA, Weight TR, Moorhead DL, Sinsabaugh RL (2004) Elevated CO2 alters functional attributes of nematode communities on forest soils. Functional Ecology 18, 584–591. doi: 10.1111/j.0269-8463.2004.00866.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nickle WR (Ed.) (1991) ‘Manual of agricultural nematology.’ (Marcel Dekker: New York)Google Scholar
  27. Nobbs JM (1989) The occurrence of plant parasitic nematodes in the arid region of South Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 112, 117.Google Scholar
  28. Okada H, Kadota I (2003) Host status of 10 fungal isolates for two nematode species, Filenchus misellus and Aphelenchus avenae. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 35, 1601–1607. doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2003.08.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Panchbhai SD, Varma BK, Reddy CR (1986) Presence of Panagrolaimus sp. (Nematoda: Panagrolaimidae) in seeds of pearl millet [Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke]. Nematologica 32, 236–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rohde K (1992) Latitudinal gradients in species diversity: the search for the primary cause. Oikos 65, 514–527. doi: 10.2307/3545569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stirling GR (2008) The impact of farming systems on soil biology and soilborne diseases: examples from the Australian sugar and vegetable industries, the case for better integration of sugarcane and vegetable production and implications for future research. Australasian Plant Pathology 37, 1–18. doi: 10.1071/AP07084CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stirling GR, Eden LM (2008) The impact of organic amendments, mulching and tillage on plant nutrition, Pythium root rot, root-knot nematode and other pests and diseases of capsicum, and implications for the development of more sustainable vegetable farming systems. Australasian Plant Pathology 37, 123–131. doi: 10.1071/AP07090CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stirling GR, Lodge GM (2005) A survey of Australian temperate pastures in summer and winter rainfall zones: soil nematodes, chemical, and biochemical properties. Australian Journal of Soil Research 43, 887–904. doi: 10.1071/SR05079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stirling GR, Wilson EJ, Stirling AM, Pankhurst CE, Moody PW, Bell MJ, Halpin N (2005) Amendments of sugarcane trash induce suppressiveness to plant-parasitic nematodes in sugarcane soils. Australasian Plant Pathology 34, 203–211. doi: 10.1071/AP05022CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Talavera M, Navas A (2002) Incidence of plant-parasitic nematodes in natural and semi-natural mountain grassland and the host status of some common grass species. Nematology 4, 541–552. doi: 10.1163/156854102760290518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thompson JP, Owen KJ, Stirling GR, Bell MJ (2008) Root-lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus thornei and P. neglectus): a review of recent progress in managing a significant pest of grain crops in northern Australia. Australasian Plant Pathology 37, 235–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wardle DA (2005) How plant communities influence decomposer communities. In ‘Biological diversity and function in soils’. (Eds RD Bardgett, MB Usher, DW Hopkins) pp. 119–138. (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge)Google Scholar
  38. Whitehead AG, Hemming JR (1965) A comparison of some quantitative methods of extracting small vermiform nematodes from soil. Annals of Applied Biology 55, 25–38. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.1965.tb07864.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wood FH, Close RC (1974) Dissemination of lucerne stem nematode in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Experimental Agriculture 2, 79–82.Google Scholar
  40. Yeates GW (1976) Effect of fertiliser treatment and stocking rate on pasture nematode populations on a yellow-grey earth. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 19, 405–408.Google Scholar
  41. Yeates GW (1978a) Populations of nematode genera in soils under pasture. I. Seasonal dynamics in dryland and irrigated pasture on a southern yellow-grey earth. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 21, 321–330.Google Scholar
  42. Yeates GW (1978b) Populations of nematode genera in soils under pasture. II. Seasonal dynamics in dryland and effluent irrigated pastures on a central yellow-grey earth. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 21, 331–340.Google Scholar
  43. Yeates GW (1984) Variation in soil nematode diversity under pasture with soil and year. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 16, 95–102. doi: 10.1016/0038-0717(84)90098-1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yeates GW (1992) Distribution of Tylenchorhynchus and Geocenamus (Nematoda: Tylenchida) in pasture soils. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 19, 7–12.Google Scholar
  45. Yeates GW (2003) Nematodes as soil indicators: functional and biodiversity aspects. Biology and Fertility of Soils 37, 199–210.Google Scholar
  46. Yeates GW, Bird AF (1994) Some observations on the influence of agricultural practices on the nematode faunae of some South Australian soils. Fundamental and Applied Nematology 17, 133–145.Google Scholar
  47. Yeates GW, Bongers T (1999) Nematode diversity in agroecosystems. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment 74, 113–135. doi: 10.1016/S0167-8809(99)00033-XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Yeates GW, King KL (1997) Soil nematodes as indicators of the effect of management of grasslands in the New England Tablelands (NSW): comparison of native and improved grasslands. Pedobiologia 41, 526–536.Google Scholar
  49. Yeates GW, Healy WB, Widdowson JP (1973) Screening of legume varieties for resistance to the root nematodes Heterodera trifolii and Meloidogyne hapla. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 16, 81–86.Google Scholar
  50. Yeates GW, Ross DJ, Bridger BA, Visser TA (1977) Influence of the nematodes Heterodera trifolii and Meloidogyne hapla on nitrogen fixation by white clover under glasshouse conditions. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 20, 401–413.Google Scholar
  51. Yeates GW, Bongers T, de Goede RGM, Freckman DW, Georgieva SS (1993a) Feeding habits in soil nematode families and genera — an outline for soil ecologists. Journal of Nematology 25, 315–331.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Yeates GW, Wardle DA, Watson RN (1993b) Relationships between nematodes, soil microbial biomass and weed management strategies in maize and asparagus cropping systems. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 25, 869–876. doi: 10.1016/0038-0717(93)90089-TCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yeates GW, Bardgett RD, Cook R, Hobbs PJ, Bowling PJ, Potter JF (1997) Faunal and microbial diversity in three Welsh grassland soils under conventional and organic management regimes. Journal of Applied Ecology 34, 453–470. doi: 10.2307/2404890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Yeates GW, Saggar S, Hedley CB, Mercer CF (1999) Increase in 14C-carbon translocation to the soil microbial biomass when five plant-parasitic nematode infect roots of white clover. Nematology 1, 295–300. doi: 10.1163/156854199508298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Yeates GW, Newton PCD, Ross DJ (2003) Significant changes in soil microfauna in grazed pasture under elevated carbon dioxide. Biology and Fertility of Soils 38, 319–326. doi: 10.1007/s00374-003-0659-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zahid MI, Gurr GM, Hodda M, Nikandrow A, Fulkerson WJ (2002) Orientation, reproduction and effect of spiral nematode (Helicotylenchus dihystera) on growth of white clover (cv. Haifa). Australasian Plant Pathology 31, 55–56. doi: 10.1071/AP01052CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Australasian Plant Pathology Society 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Landcare ResearchPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Biological Crop ProtectionMoggillAustralia

Personalised recommendations