The role of nematodes in decomposition in desert ecosystems

TitleThe role of nematodes in decomposition in desert ecosystems
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1982
AuthorsWhitford WG, Freckman D.W, Santos PF, Elkins NZ, Parker L.W
Series EditorFreckman D.W
Series TitleNematodes in Ecosystems
Number of Pages98-117
PublisherUniversity of Texas Press
Accession NumberJRN00005
Call Number00398
Keywordsbook, books, chapter, chapters, decomposition,nematodes, nematode,decomposition, pesticide,nematode, report, reports
AbstractAlthough nematodes are numerous in the soils of most ecosystems, their contribution to soil respiration is relatively small (Sohlenius 1980). Thus, judged on the basis of energy flow through an ecosystem, nematodes would have to be considered a minor component of such systems. However, the contribution of a groups of organisms to the functioning of a system cannot be judged solely on the basis of the quantity of energy processed by that group. Chew (1974) suggested that while consumers may be relatively unimportant in energy flow, they may play important roles as rate regulators. In this paper we review our findings to date on the role of nematodes in desert soil ecosystems and show how various guilds of free-living nematodes apparently regulate rates of decomposition, thus eventually affecting nutrient cycling processes.