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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2005 Oct;62(2):278-89.

The use of nematodes in ecological soil classification and assessment concepts.

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Laboratory for Ecological Risk Assessment, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), P.O. Box 1, NL 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


Although there has been extensive applied agricultural research (research on plant-parasitic species has a long tradition), insufficient taxonomical knowledge, especially of free-living nematodes, is a serious problem concerning the use of nematodes in soil classification and assessment. However, due to their essential and various roles in ecosystem functioning and their high diversity and abundance, interest in using these organisms for the assessment of soil quality is increasing. In particular in The Netherlands, but also in other countries (e.g., Germany, United Kingdom), progress in taxonomy is being achieved and evaluation strategies are being elaborated. While examples exist for the successful use of nematodes as part of a community approach comprising several organism groups, much work concerning the establishment of an adequate reference database remains to be done. This article is a general overview of the suitability and application of soil nematodes in soil assessments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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