Date of Award

Spring 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Amy Treonis


Due to their numerous and diverse roles in soil ecological processes – most notably decomposition and nutrient mineralization – nematodes have long been recognized as important biotic indicators of soil health (Ekschmitt et al., 2001; Ritz and Trudgill, 1999). The predominate means of assessing the information that these organisms might contain has been through nematode community analyses, a methodology that seeks to convert the vast amount of data regarding features such as diversity, maturity and richness into a series of indices which can be used to evaluate soil health and make comparisons across samples. Performance of these analyses typically involves the sorting of nematodes morphologically into taxa or functionally by trophic level (Neher, 2001; Bongers and Ferris, 1999). The latter method has recently been recognized as potentially the more valuable as trophic level tends to correspond more directly to ecological role. Additionally, as a broader means of classification, sorting in this manner does not require the rigorous knowledge of nematode morphology necessary for sorting by taxa (Ritz and Trudgill, 1999).

Included in

Biology Commons