Although researchers of UCR’s
Department of Nematology have collected occasional samples in the
UCR Botanic Gardens for
many years, no orderly nematode survey has been conducted to date.
I therefore propose to begin such a survey, with the intentions of
producing the first list of nematodes from the Gardens, and thus allowing
me to learn the basics of sampling and identification of nematodes.
The Botanic Gardens are an ideal location for this as they provide
a very diverse spectrum of vegetations and habitats, ranging from
desert section to pond, and from herbs to mature trees. Because the
Gardens are so diverse, I expect to find an equally wide range of
nematodes associated with its plant species, in a relatively small
and easily accessible area.
My plan is to sample four different
areas of the Botanic Gardens: the desert section, the rose garden,
the herb garden, and the muddy edges of the pond. Five 500 ml soil
samples will be taken around the roots of different plants from each
of the four areas. The samples will be brought back to the Nematology
greenhouse, where they will be processed by soaking them in water
and rinsing them through sieves, to extract the nematodes from the
soil. The extracts will then be brought to the laboratory, and nematode
numbers will be counted repeatedly and averaged over three counts
to ensure accuracy. The nematodes will be fixed in formalin and transferred
to glycerin. From each sample, 100 nematodes will be mounted in double-coverslip
Cobb slides and identified to family. Relative abundance of each sample
will be used to estimate the abundances of the different families.
A simple ecological comparison will be made using “Maturity
Index” analysis. 20 nematodes will be video captured and
presented as online specimens, in web pages linked to the Botanic