Researchers Reveal Ecological Mechanisms Affecting Soil Nematode Communities Along Aridity Gradient Across Northern China's Grasslands
Climate changes such as drought are becoming increasingly serious worldwide and significantly affect structures and functions of terrestrial ecosystems. Drought reduces the abundance and richness of soil biota and has different effects on their different functional groups in grassland ecosystems. However, most of the studies on soil biological communities are short-term and small-scale studies, and the mechanism studies at large scales are scarce compared to that focused on above-ground communities.
In view of this, XIONG Dang, WEI Cunzheng, LI Qi and others from the Soil Ecology Group and the Ecological Stoichiometry Group at the Institute of Applied Ecology (IAE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied the community and functional group characteristics of soil nematodes along an aridity gradient across northern China's grasslands, and revealed the driving mechanisms of the ecological trends they found.
The researchers found that the abundance, richness and community similarity of soil nematodes showed non-linear responses to the aridity gradient; climate (aridity) was the main factor affecting the nematode community composition in northern China's Grasslands. By predicting the potential changes of soil nematode communities in the context of climate change, this study provides a scientific foundation for the conservation and sustainable use of northern China's grassland biodiversity.
This study was published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography under the title "Nonlinear responses of soil nematode community composition to increasing aridity." This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the National Key Research and Development Program.