Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (1): 27-39.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2020.0406

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Relationship between plant community types and soil nematode communities in Haibei, Qinghai, China

Yan-Fang LIU1,3, Weng-Ying WANG3,4,*(), Nan-Ji SUO3, Hua-Kun ZHOU2, Xu-Feng MAO1, Shi-Xiong WANG3, Zhe CHEN3   

  1. 1College of Geography Sciences, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810008, China
    2Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, China
    3College of Life Sciences, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810008, China
    4Academy of Plateau Science and Sustainability, People’s Government of Qinghai Province & Beijing Normal University, Xining 810008, China
  • Received:2020-12-07 Accepted:2021-07-05 Online:2022-01-20 Published:2022-04-13
  • Contact: Weng-Ying WANG


Aims Soil nematodes are good indicator organisms and considered to be one of the important driving forces for the succession of plant communities. Therefore, understanding the relationship between soil nematodes and aboveground communities is particularly important. Methods This study took the soil nematodes in four different types of alpine plant communities, Kobresia humilis meadow, Kobresia tibetica swamp meadow, Carex atrofusca swamp meadow, Potentilla fruticosa shrubland as the research objects in Haibei, Qinghai, China. Nematode community composition, distribution characteristics, species diversity and trophic group composition were studied for the different plant communities. Important findings (1) A total of 3 800 nematodes were extracted with 30 genus, 15 families, 5 orders and 2 phyla. The average individual density of the nematodes was 580 ind.·100 g-1 dry soil. The number of nematodes decreased with the increase of soil depth. The majority of them were observed in the top soil layer. Different nematode communities vary dramatically among different plant communities. The total number of soil nematodes in K. humilis meadow (1 811 ind.·392.5 cm-3) was significantly higher than ones from other plant community types. C. atrofusca swamp meadow (324 ind.·392.5 cm-3) was the least. The composition of dominant genera and trophic groups of soil nematodes saw a significant difference in four plant communities, which is particularly obvious between K. humilis meadow and C. atrofusca swamp meadow. (2) The soil nematode Shannon index (H′) and evenness index (J′) are highest in the P. fruticosa shrubland, and lowest in the C. atrofusca swamp meadow. However, the dominance index (λ) showed opposite patterns. H′ and λ had significant differences between the two plant communities. Potentilla fruticosa shrubland soil nematode community has the highest diversity. Carex atrofusca swamp meadow soil nematode community was lower than those in the other plant meadows, and the nematode community tends to be simplified. The four plant communities rely on the bacterial decomposition pathways. Wasilewska index (WI) of C. atrofusca swamp meadow is the highest and K. humilis meadow is the lowest. It indicates that the state of soil fertility is constantly decreasing in transition from alpine swamp meadow to alpine shrub and alpine meadow. Swamp meadow is beneficial to the growth of microbial nematodes. Plant parasite index (PPI) and maturity index (MI) indexes were the lowest of C. atrofusca swamp meadow. It shows that the maturity of its ecosystem is low. This is related to the higher soil water content in the C. atrofusca swamp meadow. Enrichment index (EI) and structure index (SI) of different plant communities are both the highest in C. atrofusca swamp meadow. It can be seen that the food web of C. atrofusca swamp meadow is relatively connected, with less resistance, and a longer food chain. (3) Principal component analysis (PCA) shows that the four plant communities have different main contribution species. Correlation analysis showed that: bacterivorous nematodes number have a significant positive correlation with K. tibetica swamp meadow; P. fruticosa shrubland has a significant negative correlation with nematode H′, J′, and a significant positive correlation with λ; WI has a significant positive correlation with the plant diversity of K. humilis meadow, while PPI has a significant negative correlation. In summary, plant communities have a profound impact on the diversity of soil nematode communities.

Key words: soil nematode, community structure, vegetation type, Haibei alpine meadow