Seasonal variation in the nematode communities associated with two halophytes in a desert ecosystem

Wenju Liang, Stanislav Mouratov, Yocheved Pinhasi-Adiv, Pnina Avigad, Yosef Steinberger

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17 Scopus citations


Seasonal variation in the soil nematode communities was investigated in a field study at the Avdat Research Farm, Israel. Soil samples from 0-10 cm soil were collected monthly between May 1998 and May 2000, under the canopy of two halophyte shrubs: Hammada scoparia and Zygophyllum dumosum. Ecological indices such as ratio of fungivores and bacterivores to plant parasites (WI), fungivore to bacterivore ratio (F/B), trophic diversity (TD), Shannon index (H'), dominance (λ) and richness (SR) were assessed and compared between treatments and between seasons. Twenty nematode families and 26 genera were observed. Acrobeles, Cephalobus, Aphelenchoides and Rhabditidae were found to be the dominant genera/family. Significant differences were found between seasons (P<0.01) in the number of total nematodes, the four trophic groups and the indices, WI, T, H', λ, and SR. Bacterivores were found to be the most abundant trophic group in four seasons, their mean relative abundance was 60.6% of the nematode community. Among ecological indices tested, F/B and λ were effective in distinguishing differences in nematode community structure between treatments during the study period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-74
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant no. 506/99-17.3) to Prof. Y. Steinberger and by a Fred and Barbara Kort Sino-Israel Postdoctoral Fellowship and SRF for ROCS-SEM to Dr. Wenju Liang. The authors wish to express their appreciation to the staff at Avdat Research Farm. The authors wish to express their appreciation to Prof. G. Yeates for his helpful comments and Ms. Ginetta Barness and Ms. Irit Lavian for technical assistance.


  • Desert ecosystem
  • Ecological indices
  • Halophytes
  • Nematode community
  • Trophic groups


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