Freckman, D. W. and C. H. Ettema. 1993. Assessing nematode communities in agroecosystems of varying human intervention. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 45:239-261.

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The effect of disturbance on soil nematode communities was studied in eight treatments varying in intensity of human intervention at the Kellogg Biological Station Long Term Ecological Research site, Hickory Comers, MI. The agricultural treatments ranged from those manipulated with high chemical inputs and heavily impacted by human management to successional treatments that had no chemicals and little human impact. A canonical discriminant analysis of the nematode data separated the treatments into four systems: high chemical input (the conventional tillage and no tillage treatments, both corn/soybean rotations); organic (the low input and zero input treatments, both wheat/corn/soybean rotations); perennial (poplar and alfalfa treatments); successional (abandoned after tillage and never tilled treatments). Nematode abundance was highest in the high input and organic systems and lowest in the poplar treatment. Overall, bacterial feeding, plant parasitic and fungal feeding nematodes dominated the treatments. Species diversity was greatest in the successional treatments. The bacterial feeding trophic group and the modified Shannon index described differences at both the treatment and system levels, while the Shannon index demonstrated diversity at the system and annual and perennial crop level of analysis. Measures that detected differences (P< 0.05) consistently across all treatments, systems, and annual vs. perennial crops were total abundance, the predator trophic group, the maturity index (MI) and the plant parasite index. The minimum analyses needed to detect disturbance reliably were a multivariate analysis and the MI. However, understanding and predicting the impact of the disturbance on the food web and ecosystem functioning would be increased with results from diversity indices and nematode functional groups.

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