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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 52(6)

Plant-induced differentiation of soil variables and nematode community structure in a Mediterranean serpentine ecosystem

Nikolaos Monokrousos A, George Charalampidis C, George Boutsis B, Varvara Sousanidou B, Efimia M. Papatheodorou C and Maria D. Argyropoulou B D

A Department of Biological Applications & Technology, University of Ioannina, 45110 Ioannina, Greece.
B Department of Zoology, School of Biology, Aristotle University, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece.
C Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece.
D Corresponding author. Email: margyrop@bio.auth.gr

Soil Research 52(6) 593-603 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SR14011
Submitted: 15 January 2014  Accepted: 4 April 2014   Published: 28 July 2014

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Abiotic and biotic components of a serpentine Mediterranean soil were studied in terms of heavy metal and nutrient concentrations, microbial biomass, and structural and functional characteristics of the soil nematode community. We explored differentiations of the soil environment imposed by vegetation, sampling the bare soil and soil under Buxus sempervirens, Juniperus oxycedrus, Cistus creticus and Thymus sibthorpii.

Organic matter, microbial biomass, nutrient availability and calcium/magnesium (Ca/Mg) ratio of the serpentine site were similar to those of degraded, non-serpentine Mediterranean ecosystems; the serpentine site showed potassium deficiency and high heavy metal load. Soil nematode abundance, especially of phytoparasites, was very low. Low enrichment and structure indices and high channel index values indicated a degraded, low-resource, stressful environment where fungal decomposition predominates.

There was no differentiation of heavy metal concentrations among microsites. Bare soil exhibited high pH, low water content, low Ca/Mg (0.68), low nutrient concentrations, low abundance of most nematode groups, low values of maturity and plant parasitic indices, low nematode diversity and a distinct generic composition. Rhizosphere soil was differentiated according to the evergreen–sclerophyllous or seasonal–dimorphic habit of shrubs. This was reflected in soil nutrients and in all parameters of the soil nematode community.

Additional keywords: Greece, heavy metals, maquis, nematode functional profile, phrygana, ultramafic soil.


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