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Free-living and Plant-Parasitic Nematodes (Roundworms)

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Free-living and Plant-Parasitic Nematodes (Roundworms)

This lesson introduces learners to the world of nematodes (roundworms). Learners construct Baermann funnels to extract nematodes from soil and learn to differentiate stylet-bearing nematodes (most likely plant parasites) from free-living nematodes. This lesson includes background information, study questions with answers for learners, and diagrams. Dissecting and compound microscopes are required (not included in cost of materials).

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • conical glass (preferably) or plastic funnel, at least 100 mm in diameter
  • ring stand (to hold funnel)
  • flexible rubber or plastic tubing
  • spring-action hose clamp
  • circular piece of wire screen to fit inside top of funnel
  • 2-ply facial tissue (without moisturizing lotion)
  • Pasteur pipettes and bulbs
  • petri plate or watch glass
  • microscope slides and cover slips
  • clear nail polish
  • alcohol lamp
  • stereomicroscope (dissecting microscope)
  • compound microscope
  • freshly collected soil, preferably from forest floor or garden


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
      • Viruses and Bacteria
      • Protists and Fungi
      • Classification
      • Biodiversity
    • Ecology
      • Biodiversity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Tylka, Gregory L.; Jasalavich, Claudia A.


  • All Rights Reserved, The American Phytopathological Society, ©2011


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