Great Basin Naturalist


Soil nematode populations were larger and more diverse in two grasslands than in three forests of the northern Rocky Mountains. As we moved from Festuca idahoensis grassland through progressively higher zones of vegetation dominated by Artemisia tridentata, Populus tremuloides, and Pseudotsuga menziesii, and then to Abies lasiocarpa forests, numbers of nematode genera declined from 31 to 26 to 20 to 21 to 13; numbers of individuals in the top 50 cm of the soil were 6.0, 5.3, 1.7, 1.5, and 1.6 million/m2, and biomasses of nematodes in the top 50 cm of the soil were 0.83, 0.88, 0.58, 0.35, and 0.19 g/m2. Biomasses of nematodes were often well correlated with root biomass as well as soil depth; of the nematodes in the 0-50-cm horizon, 38 to 70% were in the 0-20-cm layer. The effects of light grazing on nematode populations were small or nonexistent.