Cover crops alter the soil nematode food web in banana agroecosystems



  • Authors : Djigal, D.; Chabrier, C.; Duyck, P.F.; Achard, R.; Quénéhervé, P.; Tixier, P.

  • Document type : Journal article

  • Year of publication : 2012

  • Journal title : Soil Biology and Biochemistry

  • Number : 48


  • Pages : 142-150

  • Peer-reviewed : Yes

  • ISSN : 0038-0717

  • Language(s) : English

  • Abstract : Covercrops are increasingly being used in agriculture, primarily for weed or erosion management. The addition of covercrops increases the primary productivity of the system and diversifies basal resources for higher trophic levels. How increases in the quality and quantity of basal resources affect bottom-up and top-down control remains a key question in soilfoodweb ecology. We evaluated the response of the nematode community to the introduction of covercrops between rows of a banana plantation. We measured changes in nematodefoodweb structure and inferred the prevalence of bottom-up and top-down effects on the abundance of phytophagous nematodes (i.e., plant-feeding and root-hair-feeding species) 1.5 years after plots with covercrops (Poaceae or Fabaceae species) or bare soil were established. The addition of a covercrop greatly affected the structure and the abundance of the soilnematode community 1.5 years after planting. The abundance of all trophic groups except for plant-feeding nematodes tended to increase with the addition of covercrops. The Shannon–Weaver diversity index and the enrichment index increased with the addition of covercrops, indicating that opportunistic, bacterivorous and fungivorous nematodes benefited from the added resources. Plant-feeding nematodes were least abundant in plots with Poaceae covercrops, while bacterivorous, omnivorous, and root-hair-feeding nematodes were more abundant with Fabaceae covercrops than with bare soil, indicating that covercrop identity or quality greatly affected soilfoodweb structure. Bottom-up effects on all trophic groups other than plant-feeding nematodes were evident with Poaceae covercrops, suggesting an top-down control of plant-feeding nematodes by omnivorous nematodes. Conversely, plant-feeding nematodes were evidently not suppressed in Fabaceae covercrops, perhaps because bottom-up effects on omnivorous nematodes were weaker (hence, top-down control by omnivorous nematodes was weaker), and because Fabaceae covercrops probably served as good hosts for some plant-feeding nematodes. Covercrops increase productivity and diversity of basal resources’ foodweb. Structure and abundance of nematodes’ foodweb was altered by covercrops. Poaceae covercrops enhanced top-down control of plant-feeding nematodes. Fabaceae covercrops increased bacterivores but not plant-feeder control. Top-down control changed with quality and quality of basal resource.

  • Keywords : AGROECOSYSTEMS; PLANT PARASITIC NEMATODES

  • Open access : No

  • Document on publisher's site : close View article on publisher's site

  • Musalit document ID : IN120147


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