Nematodes are a diverse group of worm-like animals. They are found in virtually every environment that can support life, and are found in fresh water, in salt water, in all kinds of soil, and as internal parasites of humans and animals. They are generally minute, but some species can reach several meters in length. Most of the nematodes that inhabit the soil are microbial feeders or predators of other soil organisms, but some parasitize plants and are called Plant-parasitic nematodes. Plant-parasitic nematodes are recognized as one of the greatest threat to crops throughout the world. Nematodes alone or in combination with other soil microorganisms have been found to attack almost every part of the plant including roots, stems, leaves, fruits and seeds.
NIFA supports the needs and demands of nematology research, extension, and education programs to address the many challenges plant-parasitic nematodes pose for agricultural production and managed properties in residential and urban areas.
NIFA provides support for nematology research projects to reduce the impact of plant-parasitic nematodes, to advance fundamental knowledge in nematode biology, and to promote the use of beneficial nematodes associated microbial organisms.
NIFA also provides support for multistate projects focused on the development of nematode management strategies. These projects bring together research and extension experts from a single region or nationwide to collaborate on research and extension efforts to address important nematode problems. There are currently over 14 multistate projects that are addressing nematode management challenges.