Entomopathogenic nematodes in the soil environment: Distributions, interactions and the influence of biotic and abiotic factors

Robin J. Stuart, Mary E. Barbercheck, Parwinder S. Grewal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

58 Scopus citations


Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) in the families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae are important agents for the biological control of soil insect pests in natural and managed ecosystems (Denno, Gruner, & Kaplan, 2008; Grewal, Ehlers, & Shapiro-Ilan, 2005; Lacey & Georgis, 2012). However, like most soil organisms, our knowledge of their activities is relatively limited compared to above ground organisms. Indeed, research on soil biota has long been a challenging aspect of modern ecology because of the inherent difficulties of sampling, manipulating, and otherwise investigating below ground processes (Brown & Gange, 1990; Fierer, Strickland, Liptzin, Bradford, & Cleveland, 2009). Progress is being made with EPNs but we are still a long way from the comprehensive understanding of their soil biology that is required if they are to fulfill their rich potential as manageable biological control agents in cultivated ecosystems. Twenty-five years ago Hominick and Reid (1990) stated: “We are almost completely ignorant of the population biology of entomopathogenic nematodes, yet such information is fundamental to understanding their persistence, distribution, effect on insect populations, and to the development of predictive models for control programs.” Subsequently, researchers have been chipping away at this problem, more intensive field studies have been conducted, models have been developed for various processes, and molecular techniques have begun providing new ways of exploring fundamental issues (Bai, Adams, Ciche, Clifton, Gaugler, et al., 2013; Campos-Herrera, Barbercheck, Hoy, & Stock, 2012; Campos-Herrera, Pathak, El-Borai, Stuart, Gutiérrez, et al., 2013; Stuart, Barbercheck, Grewal, Taylor, & Hoy, 2006) but much remains to be done. This paper reviews some aspects of the distribution of EPNs in the soil environment, what.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNematode Pathogenesis of Insects and Other Pests
Subtitle of host publicationEcology and Applied Technologies for Sustainable Plant and Crop Protection
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages41
ISBN (Electronic)9783319182667
ISBN (Print)9783319182650
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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