Nematodes are among the most abundant and diversified groups in the animal kingdom and belong to the Phylum Nematoda group. It is said that four in five animals on earth are nematodes. Research in this group is focused on the ecology and taxonomy of free-living and plant-parasitic nematodes found in South Africa. Nematodes are currently being studied in the Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve near Memel, and research is also conducted in the Bakwena Cave in Irene, Pretoria.

“If all the matter in the universe except the nematodes were swept away, our world would still be dimly recognizable, and if, as disembodied spirits, we could investigate it, we should find its mountains, hills, vales, rivers, lakes, and oceans represented by a film of nematodes. The location of towns would be decipherable, since for every massing of human beings there would be a corresponding massing of certain nematodes.”—Nathan Cobb.

Studies in this group involves the research (ecology and taxonomy) of plant-parasitic and free-living non-parasitic nematodes occurring in nature reserves in South Africa. Various habitat types are sampled for nematodes within these reserves.

Data gathered for these surveys will form part of a bigger project which will include:

  • Mapping the biodiversity of nematodes (free-living and plant parasitic) occurring in Free State Nature Reserves;
  • Investigating the ecological importance of the nematodes found in the Free State Reserves;
  • and contributing to the South African National Survey of Plant Parasitic Nematodes and National Collections of Nematodes which is maintained by the Nematology unit, Biosystematics of the Agricultural Research Council - Plant Health and Protection

Nematode

Nematology fieldwork

Nematode

Members of research group

Students


Anke de Smidt (MSc)

Nematodes from the Willem Pretorius and Soetdoring Nature Reserves, Free State Province, South Africa


FACULTY CONTACT

Faculty Manager: Velaphi Makgwahla
T: + 27 51 401 3199
E: makgwahlamvt@ufs.ac.za

Marketing Manager: Elfrieda Lötter
T: +27 51 401 2531
E: lottere@ufs.ac.za

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