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Nematode trophic structure in the phytotelma of Neoregelia cruenta (Bromeliaceae) in relation to microenvironmental and climate variables


The term phytotelma (pl. phytotelmata) designates a plant-associated reservoir of fresh water and organic debris. Phytotelmata in tank bromeliads are abundant in tropical forests, and they provide shelter, food, and water for many metazoans. Among the invertebrates known to inhabit phytotelmata, nematodes are the least studied, despite their important role in nutrient and energy cycles in freshwater ecosystems. This study was conceived to characterize the nematode trophic structure in the phytotelma of the bromeliad N. cruenta, and to identify climate and microenvironmental variables that impact it. Nematode abundance (total and per trophic group), rainfall, air temperature, the amount of organic debris fallen into the phytotelma, and eight physico-chemical properties (PCPs) of the water retained in the bromeliad tank – volume; temperature; pH; dissolved organic carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and solids; and electrical conductivity – were monitored during two years in a natural reserve in Brazil. Bacterial and hyphal feeder nematodes predominated over other trophic groups. Nematode abundance (total and per trophic group) was not impacted by fluctuations in rainfall or air temperature. The amount of organic debris fallen into the phytotelma correlated positively with nematode abundance (total and per trophic group). Regarding the PCPs of water, the only significant correlation – positive – was between the amount of dissolved oxygen and the abundance of hyphal feeder nematodes. These results bring a clearer understanding of the ecology of nematodes inhabiting phytotelmata, which are peculiar and understudied freshwater ecosystems.

Częstotliwość wydawania:
Volume Open
Dziedziny czasopisma:
Life Sciences, other