Functional and structural aspects of biodiversity in an estuarine detrital food web, with emphasis on free-living nematodes and their interactions with bacteria


The present project aims to study the role of free-living bacterivorous nematodes in the decomposition of organic detritus (macrophhyte-derived) in brackish tidal marshes. Emphasis is on 1) the effect of species identity and diversity on decomposition rate, 2) interactions of nematodes and heterotrophic bacteria and 3) the relative importance of biotic interactions and abiotic impacts (e.g. hydrodynamics) in determining the process of interest. The decomposition process, dynamics and patterns of succession of nematodes and bacteria will be experimentally analysed.

This research project builds on my previous research dealing with the 'Feeding ecology of marine nematodes'. It will take an experimental approach to the question if and how nematode diversity affects decomposition processes. It aims at an integration of microbiology and meiofaunology. Lic. Ilse De Mesel is also involved in this project, on which she has just started her PhD under the auspices of the IWT. The Laboratory of Microbiology of the University of Gent copromotes this research.


biochemical ecology, marine biodiversity, Bacteria, Belgium, benthos, brackish water, cannibalism, chemotaxis, cultures, decomposition, detritus, diatoms, ecology, estuaries, estuary, experimental approach, feeding ecology, food webs, free-living nematods, grazing, intertidal, Invertebrata, marine biodiversity, marine and coastal habitats, meiobenthos, metabolism, Metazoa, microbenthos, microbial loop, microbiology, mineralisation, mud flats, Nematoda, nematology, Netherlands, North Sea, North Sea Scheldt, Poaceae, predation, predator-prey relationships, production, respiration, salt marshes, Spartina anglica, stable isotopes, effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning, tidal flats, trophic levels, vascular plants, Westerschelde, nematodes, diversity


Belgium {Geographical scope}
North Sea {Geographical scope}
Inland Waters {Habitat type}
Marine and Coastal {Habitat type}


Name Role Start End
Moens, Tom co-promotor
Vincx, Magda promotor


Name Role Start End
Laboratory of Microbiology co-leader
Marine Biology leader

created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:iweto

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