Using nematode communities to test a European scale soil biological monitoring programme for policy development
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There is a current need to identify European biological indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem function that can be used for soil monitoring, in order to aid policy making. Europe, however, is subdivided into different bio-geographical (climate) zones, containing different soils and varying management practices. This work (as part of the EcoFINDERS project) set out to determine the range of variation in nematode community structure as a potential indicator across European biogeographical zones, taking into account land use and soil characteristics. Nematodes have been suggested as biological indicators for the monitoring of soil quality due to their involvement in the delivery of functions such as carbon sequestration and recycling of nutrients as well as the provision of habitat for biodiversity. Using a molecular (directed-T-RFLP) approach for rapid nematode community structure assessment and a traditional morphological assessment at a feeding group level, we determined that nematode communities differ between bio-geographical zones and between different land uses within bio-geographical zones. Therefore, at the very large or trans-national level, the presence of any differing bio-geographical zones within the monitored area should be taken into account when sampling and analysing data. Care should be taken when making comparisons across different bio-geographical zones.
Accepted for Publication
Journal Title/Title of Proceedings
Applied Soil Ecology