Changes in Soil Nematode Communities during Postagrogenic Transformation of Peat Soils and Vegetation


The results of a long-term study of changes in soils and vegetation during postagrogenic succession of sown meadows on reclaimed peat soils (Eutric Histosols) are presented. The study was performed on experimental plots in the Korzinskaya Lowland (Karelia); sowing of perennial grasses was accompanied by the application of mineral fertilizers. Observations over changes in the vegetation communities along with the reduction of the peat thickness were conducted. The soil samples were analyzed for the organic carbon, total nitrogen, and available phosphorus contents and for the pH of salt extracts. Vegetation was described using the Braun-Blanquet approach; the botanical composition and the biomass of herbs were assessed by their cutting and weighing. Nematode communities were characterized by their taxonomic diversity, population density, and eco-trophic structure. The analysis of soil profiles demonstrated that the thickness of the peat deposits decreased over 40 years of observation (1974–2015). The direction of vegetation succession on sown meadows was dictated by the type of fertilization. Two plant communities were formed: Deschampsieta caespitosae humidiherbosum developed on the plots treated with mineral fertilizers, and Elytrigeto magnograminosoherbosum community developed on the plots treated with mineral and organic fertilizers. The main changes in soil nematode communities during the long-term succession were related to their eco-trophic structure. Two trophic groups exhibited an obvious response: the relative abundance of nematodes associated with plants decreased, whereas the share of plant-parasitic nematodes increased. In addition, it was found that the species composition of herbs predetermined the ecological specialization of dominant plant-parasitic nematode taxa.

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The study was carried out under state order to Karelian Research Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences (project nos. 0218-2019-0075 and 0218-2019-0079).

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Correspondence to M. G. Yurkevich.

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Translated by T. Chicheva

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Yurkevich, M.G., Sushchuk, A.A., Matveeva, E.M. et al. Changes in Soil Nematode Communities during Postagrogenic Transformation of Peat Soils and Vegetation. Eurasian Soil Sc. 53, 686–695 (2020).

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  • succession
  • soil nematodes
  • phytocenosis
  • reclaimed soils
  • peat
  • Eutric Histosols
  • soil properties
  • plant parasites
  • taxonomic diversity