Functional and structural aspects of biodiversity in an estuarine detrital food web, with emphasis on free-living nematodes and their interactions with bacteria
The present project aims to study the role of free-living bacterivorous nematodes in the decomposition of organic detritus (macrophyte-derived) in brackish tidal marshes. Emphasis is on 1) the effect of species identity and diversity on decomposition rate, 2) interactions of nematodes and heterotrophic bacteria and 3) the relative importance of biotic interactions and abiotic impacts (e.g. hydrodynamics) in determining the process of interest. The decomposition process, dynamics and patterns of succession of nematodes and bacteria will be experimentally analysed.