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California Nematology Workgroup
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California Nematology Workgroup

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What Are Nematodes?

Nematodes are typically tiny aquatic roundworms that thrive in virtually all environments on earth. They are the largest group of multicellular species in the animal kingdom. Some species are parasites of plants and cause economic losses in a wide variety of food, ornamental and industrial crops. Other species however are beneficial: they may help in the recycling of soil nutrients, or may feed on fungi, bacteria, algae, arthropods or other nematodes. In addition, nematodes are one of the favorite model organisms in studies on molecular genetics. This workgroup is mainly focused on developing and extending information about plant-parasitic and beneficial nematodes.

Sting nematodes feeding on a corn root
Sting nematodes feeding on a corn root
root-knot nematode damage on carrots
root-knot nematode damage on carrots

California Nematology Information

Plant Parasitic Nematode Thresholds/Damage Levels

Crop damage is typically related to the population density of plant-parasitic nematodes at seeding or planting although plant species and cultivar response as well as soil biotic and abiotic factors may modify the crop injury extent. A Nematology Workgroup project compiled crop damage thresholds for some important nematode pests in California.

Nematologist Works on Resistant Grape Rootstocks

Nematologist Works on Resistant Grape Rootstocks
Grape vines are susceptible to diseases caused by various nematode species, including root-knot, root-lesion, ring, citrus, and dagger nematodes. Research has indicated that root-knot nematode species often adapt to invade previously resistant rootstocks within two to 14 years after planting. Once nematode populations develop the means to exploit one rootstock, they are then able to attack all the plantings using that rootstock. The damage caused by nematodes is economically significant, resulting in lost fruit and vine vigor for growers.

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Page Last Updated: February 24, 2017
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