Free-living marine nematodes represent one of the most diverse groups of organisms present in the marine ecosystem. Species richness estimates range from 10,000 up to > 1,000,000 (Mokievsky & Azovsky 2002, Lambshead & Boucher 2003). Appeltans et al. (2012) suggest that about 85% of the marine nematode species are still unknown to science.
Free-living marine nematodes inhabit basically all marine soft sediments, but they can be present on secondary biofilms and/or hard substrates as well (Moens et al. 2013). They can be very abundant (>10 000 individuals in 10 cm² of sediment) in organically enriched sediments such as those found in cold seeps (Van Gaever et al. 2006), polar coastal waters (Vanhove et al. 1999) and estuarine mudflats (Heip et al. 1985)
History of the database
The original NeMys database was set up by dr. Tim Deprez (Marine Biology Research Group, Ghent University) as a generic marine biodiversity information system. It was designed to link taxonomic information, taxonomic and ecological literature, and identification keys. Data on free-living marine nematodes have been added to NeMys by collaborators of the Marine Biology Research Group of Ghent University through a series of projects funded by OSTC (now: Belspo) (project 'Aanmaak van een taxonomische databank van de meiofauna van de Noordzee (2001-2002), MN/XX/806'), Fund for scientific Research - Flanders (project ‘Het benthos in Antarctica : structurele en functionele biodiversiteit (1997-2000), 3G0046.97’) and the EU Network of Excellence MarBEF (subproject MANUELA).
In 2014, the part on free-living marine nematodes of NeMys was integrated in the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). The functionalities of NeMys are maintained and additional links to external data sources (i.e. GenBank) have been added when available.
The taxonomy of NeMys is edited by a group of editors, with the help of the WoRMS data management team and collaborators at the Marine Biology Research Group.
Past contributors to NeMys include Maaike Steyaert, Maarten Raes, Guy De Smet, Jeroen Ingels, Saskia Van Gaever, Giovanni dos Santos, Gustavo Fonseca and Tania Nara Bezerra.
Appeltans W et al. (2012) The Magnitude of Global Marine Species Diversity. Current biology : CB 22:2189-2202
Heip C, Vincx M, Vranken G (1985) THE ECOLOGY OF MARINE NEMATODES. Oceanography and Marine Biology 23:399-489
Lambshead PJD, Boucher G (2003) Marine nematode deep‐sea biodiversity–hyperdiverse or hype? Journal of Biogeography 30:475-485
Moens T, Braeckman U, Derycke S, Fonseca G, Galluci F, Gingold R, Guilini K, Ingels J, Leduc D, Vanaverbeke J, Van Colen C, Vanreusel A, Vincx M (2013) Ecology of free-living marine nematodes. In: Schmidt-Rhaesa A (ed) Handbook of Zoology, Volume 2 Nematoda. De Gruyter, p 109-152
Mokievsky V, Azovsky A (2002) Re-evaluation of species diversity patterns of free-living marine nematodes. Marine ecology Progress series 238:101-108
Van Gaever S, Moodley L, Beer Dd, Vanreusel A (2006) Meiobenthos at the Arctic Håkon Mosby Mud Volcano with a parental caring nematode thriving in sulphide-rich sediments. Marine Ecology Progress Series 321
Vanhove S, Arntz W, Vincx M (1999) Comparative study of the nematode communities on the southeastern Weddell Sea shelf and slope (Antarctica). Marine Ecology-Progress Series 181:237-256