Datafile: Plant diversity enhanced nematode-based soil quality indices and changed soil nematode community structure in intensively-managed agricultural grasslands
Nematode community structure
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CitationIsrael Ikoyi, Guylain Grange, John A. Finn, Fiona P. Brennan. Datafile: Plant diversity enhanced nematode-based soil quality indices and changed soil nematode community structure in intensively-managed agricultural grasslands.
AbstractPlant productivity, decomposition and nutrient cycling are controlled by plant-soil-biota interactions. However, it remains poorly understood how plant species diversity and diversity interactions impact belowground communities that modulate these processes in intensively-managed grassland systems. In managed grassland communities, comprising species selected for agronomic performance, we investigated how plant species diversity affected the soil nematode community and associated ecological indices with a focus on assessing abovegroundbelowground interactions. A total of 27 nematode taxa were identified from 61 experimental field plots in which plant species diversity was systematically manipulated from a pool of six plant species within three functional groups (FGs; grasses, legumes, herbs). In general, there were strong effects of plant species identity on the nematode community; interspecific interaction effects did not consistently occur, but where they did were best related to plant community evenness. The equi-proportional six-species plant community had a significantly higher nematode diversity, maturity index (MI), structure index (SI) and proportion of sensitive taxa (omnivore and predators) but a lower enrichment index (EI) than the individual monocultures. The two legumes (Trifolium pratense and Trifolium repens) had the highest EI but lowest abundance of fungivores and channel index, indicating a bacterial- dominated decomposition pathway. Moreover, the community structure of nematodes in the equiproportional six-species community was significantly different from that in the monocultures. This change in community structure was associated with factors highly correlated with plant diversity, including higher aboveground biomass yield and total nitrogen in harvested biomass as well as lower biomass of weed species. Overall, our results show that multi-species forage sward mixtures that include grasses, legumes, and herbs can have a positive effect on the soil nematode community and nematode-based soil quality indices. This is of practical relevance for farmers and for EU agricultural policy targeted at sustainability, soil health and farming for biodiversity benefits.
FunderEuropean Union Horizon programme; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship scheme
Grant Number818368 (MASTER)
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