Soil feedback effects to the foredune grass Ammophila arenaria by endoparasitic root-feeding nematodes and whole communities

E.P. Brinkman, S.R. Troelstra, W.H. van der Putten

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21 Citations (Scopus)


In coastal foredunes, the grass Ammophila arenaria develops a soil community that contributes to die-back and replacement by later successional plant species. Root-feeding nematodes and pathogenic soil microorganisms are involved in this negative feedback. Regular burial by wind-blown beach sand results in vigorous growth of A. arenaria, probably because of enabling a temporary escape from negative soil feedback. Here, we examine the role of root-feeding nematodes as compared to the whole soil community in causing negative feedback to A. arenaria. We performed a 3-year sand burial experiment in the field and every year we determined the feedback of different soil communities to plant growth in growth chamber bioassays. In the field, we established A. arenaria in tubes with beach sand, added three endoparasitic root-feeding nematode species (Meloidogyne maritima, Heterodera arenaria and Pratylenchus penetrans) or root zone soil to the plants, and created series of ceased and continued sand burial. During three subsequent years, plant biomass was measured and numbers of nematodes were counted. Every year, bioassays were performed with the field soils and biomass of seed-grown A. arenaria plants was measured to determine the strength of feedback of the established soil communities to the plant. In the field, addition of root zone soil had a negative effect on biomass of buried plants. In the bioassays, addition of root zone soil also reduced the biomass of newly planted seedlings, however, only in the case when the field plants had not been buried with beach sand. Addition of the three endoparasitic root-feeding nematodes did not influence plant biomass in the field and in the bioassays. Our results strongly suggest that the negative feedback to A. arenaria is not due to the combination of the three endoparasitic nematodes, but to other components in the soil community, or their interactions with the nematodes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2077-2087
Number of pages10
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • plant-parasitic nematodes
  • marram grass
  • borne fungi
  • coastal foredunes
  • tallgrass prairie
  • pathogenic fungi
  • l link
  • growth
  • organisms


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