Impacts of saltwater intrusion on soil nematodes community in alluvial and acid sulfate soils in paddy rice fields in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta
Saltwater intrusion is a potential risk damaging crop diversity and productivity due to degraded soil physicochemical properties. However, little is known about how salinity affects the structure and function of soil nematodes community in intensive rice cultivated area. This study aimed (1) to assess the impacts of saltwater intrusion on the nematode community in alluvial and acid sulfate soils; and (2) to evaluate its relation with soil conditions. Saltwater intrusion reduced the abundance of both free-living nematodes (FLN) and plant-parasitic nematodes (dominated by Hirschmanniella) in soils. FLN community was different among sites with different physicochemical properties. The omnivorous genera Aporcelaimellus and Thornenema were only found in non-salt-affected alluvial soil, whilst Mesodorylaimus was dominant in salt-affected acid sulfate soil, suggesting that this genus might be tolerant to higher EC and soluble Na+, K+, Ca2+. The bacterivorous nematodes (dominant taxa Chronogaster, Rhabdolaimus) were dominant in both non-salt affected and salt-affected alluvial soils, which accounted for 48% and 40%, respectively, whilst it accounted for 21% in salt-affected acid sulfate soil. The abundance of fungivorous nematodes (Aphelenchoides, Ditylenchus, Filenchus) were greater in salt-affected alluvial soil in contrast to the other treatments, suggesting that these might be tolerant to salinity and low pH. Saltwater intrusion reduced biological diversity (Margalef, Shannon-Wiener, and Hill’s indices), maturity index (∑MI, MI25), and clearly affected functional guilds of nematode community, especially c-p 5 group was reduced in both salt-affected soils. This study suggests that saltwater intrusion showed a potential risk in the degradation of soil properties, as indicated by the altered nematode community, trophic structure, functional guilds and their ecological indices in paddy fields.