A worm’s world: Ecological flexibility pays off for free-living nematodes in sediments and soils

Schratzberger, Michaela, Holterman, Martijn, van Oeleven, Dick and Helder, Johannes (2019) A worm’s world: Ecological flexibility pays off for free-living nematodes in sediments and soils. Bioscience, 69 (11). pp. 867-876. ISSN 0006-3568

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Free-living nematodes, an ancient animal phylum of unsegmented microscopic roundworms, have successfully adapted to nearly every ecosystem on Earth: from marine and freshwater to land, from the polar regions to the tropics, and from the mountains to the ocean depths. They are globally the most abundant animals in sediments and soils. In the present article, we identify the factors that collectively explain the successful ecological proliferation of free-living nematodes and demonstrate the impact they have on vital sediment and soil processes. The ecological success of nematodes is strongly linked to their ability to feed on various food sources that are present in both sediments and soils, and to proliferate rapidly and survive in contrasting environmental conditions. The adaptations, roles, and behaviors of free-living nematodes have important implications for the resilience of sediments and soils, and for emergent animal communities responding to human alterations to ecosystems worldwide.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: A correction has been published: BioScience, Volume 69, Issue 11, November 2019, Page 945, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz120. This correction is to an author name and does not affect the content of the article. The correct spelling of the author names is given here. Author acknowledgements: This article is based on discussions during the Third International Symposium on Nematodes as Environmental Bioindicators. We are grateful to Thomae Kakouli-Duarte for bringing together scientists working across aquatic and terrestrial realms and to all symposium participants for sharing their knowledge freely. We thank Jeroen Ingles, Richard Warwick, and Ewan Hunter for their valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. DvO was supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (VIDI grant no. 864.13.007).
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 14 - life below water,sdg 15 - life on land ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/life_below_water
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 May 2022 14:58
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 18:32
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/85080
DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biz086


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