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The effects of vegetation cover on soil nematode communities in various biotopes disturbed by industrial emissions

Šalamún, Peter, Hanzelová, Vladimíra, Miklisová, Dana, Šestinová, Oľga, Findoráková, Lenka, Kováčik, Peter
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.592 pp. 106-114
Acrobeloides, Aphelenchoides, Cephalobus, arsenic, biotic factors, biotopes, cadmium, community structure, coniferous forests, copper, emissions, environmental assessment, environmental factors, fungi, grasslands, heavy metals, lead, omnivores, organic matter, predators, soil acidification, soil ecosystems, soil horizons, soil nematodes, soil properties, sulfur dioxide, vegetation cover
Better understanding of interactions among belowground and aboveground components in biotopes may improve our knowledge about soil ecosystem, and is necessary in environment assessment using indigenous soil organisms. In this study, we proposed that in disturbed biotopes, vegetation play important role in the buffering of contamination impact on soil communities and decrease the ecological pressure on soil biota. To assess the effects of these interactions we compared nematode communities, known for their bioindication abilities, from four types of disturbed and undisturbed biotopes (coniferous forest, permanent grassland, agricultural field, clearings), where the main stress agent was represented by long-term acidic industrial emissions containing heavy metals (As, Cd, Cu, and Pb). To understand the ecological interactions taking place in studied biotopes, we studied abiotic factors (soil properties) and biotic factors (vegetation, nematode communities). Except significant increase in metals total and mobile concentrations in disturbed biotopes soil, we found acidification of soil horizon, mainly in the clearings (pH=3.68), due to SO2 precipitation. These factors has caused in clearings degradation of native phytocoenoses and decrease in decomposition rate characterized by high amount of organic matter (Cox=4.29%). Nematodes reacts to these conditions by shifts in trophic structure (bacteriovores to fungal feeders), increase in c-p 2 genera (Aphelenchoides, Acrobeloides, and Cephalobus), absence of sensitive groups (c-p 3–5, omnivores, predators), and decrease in ecological indices (SI, MI, MI2–5, H′). Similar contamination was found in forest biotope, but the nematodes composition indicates more suitable conditions; more complex community structure (presence of sensitive trophic and higher c-p groups), higher abundance and indices values, comparable with less stressed field and grassland biotopes. As showed our results, the vegetation undoubtedly plays an important role not only as a resource of services indispensable for the ecosystem, but also as a significant buffer of negative impacts acting within.