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The role of saprophagous nematodes in decomposition of the grass litter in litter layer and in litter bags on age-differing meadows of the postglacial region of Suwalki Landscape Park

The role of saprophagous nematodes in decomposition of the grass litter in litter layer and in litter bags on age-differing meadows of the postglacial region of Suwalki Landscape Park

Ekologia Polska 45(3-4): 765-780

The study compared the roles of saprophagous nematodes in the colonization and decomposition of natural litter and isolated grass litter laid on the surface of three meadows of differing age. Litter isolated in net bags laid out in May 1989 was colonized within one month by nematodes of a single species - Panagrolaimus rigidus (Schneider) Thorne. In the period spring to autumn there was an almost linear increase in the numbers and biomass of these animals in isolated litter. By autumn, the abundance of nematodes in this litter has reached 1.2-1.6 cntdot 105 individuals per one gram dry mass and a biomass of between 4.3 and 5.8 mg d.m. cntdot g-1 d.m. of litter. The abundance and biomass were the greatest in the litter placed on an 8-year-old meadow and the lowest on the one-year-old ley. The degree of colonization of isolated litter was many times greater than that of natural litter. The net production of nematode biomass calculated as C varied between 2.8 and 5.4% of the content of C in the initial mass of isolated litter and was highest. on the eight-year-old meadow. In the course of the experiment, the consumption of nematodes amounted from 12 to 23.5% of the content of C in the initial litter mass or 21.5 to 47.6% of the mineralized portion. The net production of nematodes biomass and the consumption of litter were greater in isolated litter, but the turnover of nematode biomass was slightly more rapid in natural litter.

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