Relationships between Soil Nematode Communities and Soil Quality as Affected by Land-Use Type
Zhilei Li, Xiaomei Chen, Jiangnan Li, Xionghui Liao, Dejun Li, Xunyang He, Wei Zhang, Jie Zhao
Researchers have used both soil nematode data and soil quality index (SQI) data as indicators of soil quality. However, the relationship between soil nematodes and soil quality index is poorly understood. This study explored the relationship between soil nematode properties and soil quality in different land-use types in a subtropical karst region of Southwest China. We selected the following five typical land-use types that differ in the degree of soil disturbance: cropland (maize and
... sugarcane, mulberry, forage grass, and forest. SQI was calculated on the basis of bulk density (BD), soil pH, the ratio of soil organic carbon to total nitrogen (C:N), the contents of soil water (SWC), soil total nitrogen (TN), soil organic carbon content (SOC), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), microbial biomass carbon (MBC), microbial biomass nitrogen (MBN), ammonium nitrogen (AN), nitrate nitrogen (NN), bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes (ACT), and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). We found that the abundance, Simpson dominance index, and metabolic footprint of soil nematodes were highest in the forest, followed by sugarcane, cropland (maize and soybean), forage grass, and mulberry. The SQI was highest in the forest and lowest in the cropland. There was no significant difference observed among the other three regions. In addition, the SQI was positively correlated with the total nematode biomass and abundances of total nematodes, fungivores, and herbivores, the abundances of total nematodes biomass and total nematode abundance, fungivores, and herbivores. A random forest model revealed that the dominant nematode genera (i.e., Coomansus and Acrobeloides) and the rare genera (i.e., Heterocephalobus) were closely associated with soil quality. Our results suggest that the soil nematodes (especially keystone genera) may mediate the effects of ecosystem disturbance on soil quality. These findings increase our understanding of the relationships between soil organisms and soil quality.