Soil nematode abundance and functional group composition at a global scale

Johan van den Hoogen*, Stefan Geisen, Devin Routh, Howard Ferris, Walter Traunspurger, David A. Wardle, Ron G.M. de Goede, Byron J. Adams, Wasim Ahmad, Walter S. Andriuzzi, Richard D. Bardgett, Michael Bonkowski, Raquel Campos-Herrera, Juvenil E. Cares, Tancredi Caruso, Larissa de Brito Caixeta, Xiaoyun Chen, Sofia R. Costa, Rachel Creamer, José Mauro da Cunha CastroMarie Dam, Djibril Djigal, Miguel Escuer, Bryan S. Griffiths, Carmen Gutiérrez, Karin Hohberg, Daria Kalinkina, Paul Kardol, Alan Kergunteuil, Gerard Korthals, Valentyna Krashevska, Alexey A. Kudrin, Qi Li, Wenju Liang, Matthew Magilton, Mariette Marais, José Antonio Rodríguez Martín, Elizaveta Matveeva, El Hassan Mayad, Christian Mulder, Peter Mullin, Roy Neilson, T. A.Duong Nguyen, Uffe N. Nielsen, Hiroaki Okada, Juan Emilio Palomares Rius, Kaiwen Pan, Vlada Peneva, Loïc Pellissier, Julio Carlos Pereira da Silva, Camille Pitteloud, Thomas O. Powers, Kirsten Powers, Casper W. Quist, Sergio Rasmann, Sara Sánchez Moreno, Stefan Scheu, Heikki Setälä, Anna Sushchuk, Alexei V. Tiunov, Jean Trap, Wim van der Putten, Mette Vestergård, Cecile Villenave, Lieven Waeyenberge, Diana H. Wall, Rutger Wilschut, Daniel G. Wright, Jiue in Yang, Thomas Ward Crowther

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Citations (Scopus)
2021 Downloads (Pure)


Soil organisms are a crucial part of the terrestrial biosphere. Despite their importance for ecosystem functioning, few quantitative, spatially explicit models of the active belowground community currently exist. In particular, nematodes are the most abundant animals on Earth, filling all trophic levels in the soil food web. Here we use 6,759 georeferenced samples to generate a mechanistic understanding of the patterns of the global abundance of nematodes in the soil and the composition of their functional groups. The resulting maps show that 4.4 ± 0.64 × 1020 nematodes (with a total biomass of approximately 0.3 gigatonnes) inhabit surface soils across the world, with higher abundances in sub-Arctic regions (38% of total) than in temperate (24%) or tropical (21%) regions. Regional variations in these global trends also provide insights into local patterns of soil fertility and functioning. These high-resolution models provide the first steps towards representing soil ecological processes in global biogeochemical models and will enable the prediction of elemental cycling under current and future climate scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194
Issue number2019
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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