Submitted to: Society of Nematologists Ecology Manual
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 7, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: This book chapter describes and compares many experimental techniques that have been used in over 150 published studies on nematode behavior. Constraints imposed by the transparency, small size, and slow movement of nematodes are discussed along with methods for monitoring nematode movement and characterizing specific behavioral responses. Methods also are given for controlling and measuring gradients of various stimuli, including mechanical pressure, gravity, electric and magnetic field, light, temperature, soil moisture, soil water potential, water soluble chemicals, and volatiles within sand, soil, agar, and water. Literature references are provided regarding the behavior of many parasites of plants and animals as well as free living species in soil, fresh water, and marine habitats.
Technical Abstract: A comprehensive description of methods for studying nematode behavior is not possible in this brief chapter. My goal is to provide some published examples that will help the reader to select and develop techniques. This review is organized by methods rather than biology. For example, techniques for testing volatiles, whether for pheromone activity or for root attractant activity, are discussed together, while techniques that could be used to examine the roles of light, temperature, gravity, and moisture in the vertical movement of a foliar parasite are discussed separately. Like most research on nematode movement, this review focuses on motile stages outside host tissue; only a few references to methods for observing movement within plant tissue are included. Motility assays conducted as part of studies on toxicology or survival are not included, nor are studies on hatching stimulants. For additional information the reader is referred to previous reviews.