The effects of increasing land use intensity on soil nematodes: a turn towards specialism

C. Vazquez Martin*, R.G.M. de Goede, G.W. Korthals, M. Rutgers, Anton J. Schouten, Rachel Creamer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

1.The ecosystem services that humans obtain from the soil are strongly linked to the soil's biota. There is ample evidence that intensive agriculture has a negative effect on the soil's biological diversity. While in other ecosystems, habitat specialists are at a higher risk of extinction due to human impacts than generalists, we have no evidence of whether this holds true for soil biota. We calculated the realized niche width for soil nematodes using co‐occurrence data. We compared these with ecological traits. We then calculated an index of community specialization and tested whether land use intensity leads to decreases in the index of community specialization, taxon richness, diversity and to changes in nematode abundance.
2.The resulting realized niche widths did not correlate with ecological traits such as feeding group, body mass or c‐p class. While it is possible that there are no relationships between these traits and the realized niche width, it is likelier that food availability, pH tolerance, or host breadth are more important factors in explaining niche width.
3.Contrary to our expectations, the lowest community specialization levels were found in soils with the lowest human intervention (shrubland–woodland ecosystems), while grasslands, dairy farms and arable farms had an overall higher level of specialization. Weather variables and land use intensity explained 66% of the variation in the index of community specialization in sandy soils. We found highest richness and diversity at intermediate levels of disturbance (grasslands and dairy farms). The lowest abundances were found on shrubland–woodland systems. Dairy farms on sand and clay had similar indices of community specialization, whereas peaty soils fostered a higher proportion of habitat specialists.
4.We argue that farmland supposes a stable environment for organisms with shorter life spans. Agricultural management strives to lower disturbances, allowing shorter lived organisms to escape pressures otherwise present in nature, such as drought or nutrient deficiencies during the growing season. In very disturbed systems, however, specialists may also suffer from negative effects of land use intensity.
5.This co‐occurrence method to assess niche width opens the door to estimating the soil community's niche breadth, for which resource‐based methods are difficult to implement
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2003-2016
Number of pages14
JournalFunctional Ecology
Volume33
Issue number10
Early online date20 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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soil nematodes
nematode
niches
land use
niche
dairy farming
soil biota
soil
grasslands
disturbance
niche breadth
intensive agriculture
intensive farming
agricultural management
ecosystems
organisms
habitat
nutrient deficiencies
habitats
food availability

Cite this

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title = "The effects of increasing land use intensity on soil nematodes: a turn towards specialism",
abstract = "1.The ecosystem services that humans obtain from the soil are strongly linked to the soil's biota. There is ample evidence that intensive agriculture has a negative effect on the soil's biological diversity. While in other ecosystems, habitat specialists are at a higher risk of extinction due to human impacts than generalists, we have no evidence of whether this holds true for soil biota. We calculated the realized niche width for soil nematodes using co‐occurrence data. We compared these with ecological traits. We then calculated an index of community specialization and tested whether land use intensity leads to decreases in the index of community specialization, taxon richness, diversity and to changes in nematode abundance.2.The resulting realized niche widths did not correlate with ecological traits such as feeding group, body mass or c‐p class. While it is possible that there are no relationships between these traits and the realized niche width, it is likelier that food availability, pH tolerance, or host breadth are more important factors in explaining niche width.3.Contrary to our expectations, the lowest community specialization levels were found in soils with the lowest human intervention (shrubland–woodland ecosystems), while grasslands, dairy farms and arable farms had an overall higher level of specialization. Weather variables and land use intensity explained 66{\%} of the variation in the index of community specialization in sandy soils. We found highest richness and diversity at intermediate levels of disturbance (grasslands and dairy farms). The lowest abundances were found on shrubland–woodland systems. Dairy farms on sand and clay had similar indices of community specialization, whereas peaty soils fostered a higher proportion of habitat specialists.4.We argue that farmland supposes a stable environment for organisms with shorter life spans. Agricultural management strives to lower disturbances, allowing shorter lived organisms to escape pressures otherwise present in nature, such as drought or nutrient deficiencies during the growing season. In very disturbed systems, however, specialists may also suffer from negative effects of land use intensity.5.This co‐occurrence method to assess niche width opens the door to estimating the soil community's niche breadth, for which resource‐based methods are difficult to implement",
author = "{Vazquez Martin}, C. and {de Goede}, R.G.M. and G.W. Korthals and M. Rutgers and Schouten, {Anton J.} and Rachel Creamer",
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The effects of increasing land use intensity on soil nematodes: a turn towards specialism. / Vazquez Martin, C.; de Goede, R.G.M.; Korthals, G.W.; Rutgers, M.; Schouten, Anton J.; Creamer, Rachel.

In: Functional Ecology, Vol. 33, No. 10, 10.2019, p. 2003-2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Korthals, G.W.

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AU - Creamer, Rachel

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N2 - 1.The ecosystem services that humans obtain from the soil are strongly linked to the soil's biota. There is ample evidence that intensive agriculture has a negative effect on the soil's biological diversity. While in other ecosystems, habitat specialists are at a higher risk of extinction due to human impacts than generalists, we have no evidence of whether this holds true for soil biota. We calculated the realized niche width for soil nematodes using co‐occurrence data. We compared these with ecological traits. We then calculated an index of community specialization and tested whether land use intensity leads to decreases in the index of community specialization, taxon richness, diversity and to changes in nematode abundance.2.The resulting realized niche widths did not correlate with ecological traits such as feeding group, body mass or c‐p class. While it is possible that there are no relationships between these traits and the realized niche width, it is likelier that food availability, pH tolerance, or host breadth are more important factors in explaining niche width.3.Contrary to our expectations, the lowest community specialization levels were found in soils with the lowest human intervention (shrubland–woodland ecosystems), while grasslands, dairy farms and arable farms had an overall higher level of specialization. Weather variables and land use intensity explained 66% of the variation in the index of community specialization in sandy soils. We found highest richness and diversity at intermediate levels of disturbance (grasslands and dairy farms). The lowest abundances were found on shrubland–woodland systems. Dairy farms on sand and clay had similar indices of community specialization, whereas peaty soils fostered a higher proportion of habitat specialists.4.We argue that farmland supposes a stable environment for organisms with shorter life spans. Agricultural management strives to lower disturbances, allowing shorter lived organisms to escape pressures otherwise present in nature, such as drought or nutrient deficiencies during the growing season. In very disturbed systems, however, specialists may also suffer from negative effects of land use intensity.5.This co‐occurrence method to assess niche width opens the door to estimating the soil community's niche breadth, for which resource‐based methods are difficult to implement

AB - 1.The ecosystem services that humans obtain from the soil are strongly linked to the soil's biota. There is ample evidence that intensive agriculture has a negative effect on the soil's biological diversity. While in other ecosystems, habitat specialists are at a higher risk of extinction due to human impacts than generalists, we have no evidence of whether this holds true for soil biota. We calculated the realized niche width for soil nematodes using co‐occurrence data. We compared these with ecological traits. We then calculated an index of community specialization and tested whether land use intensity leads to decreases in the index of community specialization, taxon richness, diversity and to changes in nematode abundance.2.The resulting realized niche widths did not correlate with ecological traits such as feeding group, body mass or c‐p class. While it is possible that there are no relationships between these traits and the realized niche width, it is likelier that food availability, pH tolerance, or host breadth are more important factors in explaining niche width.3.Contrary to our expectations, the lowest community specialization levels were found in soils with the lowest human intervention (shrubland–woodland ecosystems), while grasslands, dairy farms and arable farms had an overall higher level of specialization. Weather variables and land use intensity explained 66% of the variation in the index of community specialization in sandy soils. We found highest richness and diversity at intermediate levels of disturbance (grasslands and dairy farms). The lowest abundances were found on shrubland–woodland systems. Dairy farms on sand and clay had similar indices of community specialization, whereas peaty soils fostered a higher proportion of habitat specialists.4.We argue that farmland supposes a stable environment for organisms with shorter life spans. Agricultural management strives to lower disturbances, allowing shorter lived organisms to escape pressures otherwise present in nature, such as drought or nutrient deficiencies during the growing season. In very disturbed systems, however, specialists may also suffer from negative effects of land use intensity.5.This co‐occurrence method to assess niche width opens the door to estimating the soil community's niche breadth, for which resource‐based methods are difficult to implement

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SN - 0269-8463

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