Title

Spatial Variability of Soil Nematodes and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in Western Montana Grasslands

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Belowground flora and fauna often are neglected in ecological studies, even though the composition of the soil organismal community is a key indicator of ecosystem function. To understand the role of soil flora and fauna in regulating grassland ecosystems, it is critical to understand spatial variability in soil organisms. In addition, knowledge of this variation is needed to design effective programs for monitoring their responses to degradation and management. We are investigating spatial variation in two common taxa of soil organisms, nematodes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), in invaded and un-invaded grasslands in western Montana. Findings will contribute to understanding of: the scales at which these organisms vary; the replication required to design effective monitoring programs for nematodes and (AMF); and relationships between variability in nematode abundance and plant community diversity. We collected soil cores and plant presence/absence data for two 15x15 m plots at each of three sites. We then grew corn in field soil to perform a plant-bait bioassay to assess AMF abundance. Roots were stained, and viewed under a microscope to determine the proportion of roots colonized by AMF. Nematodes were extracted from soil samples using a sugar-floatation method, and counted using a microscope.

Category

Life Sciences

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Apr 17th, 11:00 AM Apr 17th, 12:00 PM

Spatial Variability of Soil Nematodes and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in Western Montana Grasslands

South UC Ballroom

Belowground flora and fauna often are neglected in ecological studies, even though the composition of the soil organismal community is a key indicator of ecosystem function. To understand the role of soil flora and fauna in regulating grassland ecosystems, it is critical to understand spatial variability in soil organisms. In addition, knowledge of this variation is needed to design effective programs for monitoring their responses to degradation and management. We are investigating spatial variation in two common taxa of soil organisms, nematodes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), in invaded and un-invaded grasslands in western Montana. Findings will contribute to understanding of: the scales at which these organisms vary; the replication required to design effective monitoring programs for nematodes and (AMF); and relationships between variability in nematode abundance and plant community diversity. We collected soil cores and plant presence/absence data for two 15x15 m plots at each of three sites. We then grew corn in field soil to perform a plant-bait bioassay to assess AMF abundance. Roots were stained, and viewed under a microscope to determine the proportion of roots colonized by AMF. Nematodes were extracted from soil samples using a sugar-floatation method, and counted using a microscope.