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W. Bert, M. Messiaen, F. Hendrickx, J. Manhout, T. De Bie, and G. Borgonie (2007)

Nematode communities of small farmland ponds

Hydrobiologia, 583:91-105.

The nematofauna of 14 farmland ponds, selected according to a gradient of surrounding agricultural land-use intensity, from five regions in North-West of Belgium were studied. The total nematode density (9-411 ind./10 cm(2) per pond), and especially the number of species (4-12 species per pond) was especially low in these ponds. In total, 17 genera of free-living benthic nematodes, belonging to 15 families, are identified. Tobrilus gracilis and Eumonhystera filiformis were the most common species and were found in 13 and 12 of the 14 sampled ponds, respectively. The genera Tobrilus and Eumonhystera jointly comprise 77\% of the total nematofauna. Consequently, the investigated water bodies were dominated by deposit feeding Monhysteridae and/or by chewing Tobrilidae. Diplogasteridae and Rhabditidae, normally related with eutrophic habitats, were almost absent. In order to explain the variation of total density, diversity, feeding-types composition and the individual density of the six most important species within ponds as well, sets of environmental variables were statistically selected. It was demonstrated that morphologically very similar species can show highly different ecological properties. The presence of a substantial mud layer and of an overall high level of eutrophication as well as the presence of possibly associated anaerobic conditions are put forward as the main factors explaining the observed low density and diversity. Total phosphate concentration and sediment characteristics seem to be the most important variables to explain the nematode community structure. However, a clear pattern of environmental variables, agricultural land use and nematode assemblages was not observed.

Bert, Wim Messiaen, Marjolein Hendrickx, Frederik Manhout, Joeri De Bie, Tom Borgonie, Gaetan

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