Haddish Melakeberhan

Haddish  Melakeberhan
  • Associate Professor
  • Horticulture




My research focus has been on understanding plant-nematode-soil-nutrient interactions at the organism and ecosystem levels with a strategic vision of developing integrated and sustainable nematode, nutrient cycling, and soil health management in cropping systems. Nematodes, the most abundant metazoan on the planet, include bacteriovores, fungivores, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and predator trophic groups. Herbivores impact the food chain; whereas, all nematodes are critical part of the soil food web and nutrient cycling processes. Soil-inhabiting herbivore nematodes cause crop quality and yield loss by sucking host cell contents root destruction and disrupting water and nutrient uptake and the photosynthesis process in one of three ways: destructive (host cells killed, e.g. root-lesionPratylenchus), adaptive (cells modified e.g. cystHeterodera) and neoplastic (cells modified and undergo new growth, e.g. root-knotMeloidogyne) feeding behaviors. We have used the three feeding behaviors as models to study plant-nematode-soil-nutrient interactions and developed a fertilizer use efficiency (FUE) model that separates nutrient deficiency and toxicity from nematode parasitism as well as suitability of treatments designed to achieve desired economic, agro-ecological, biological and physiochemical soil health conditions. This has allowed us to move from managing herbivore nematodes only to managing all nematode trophic groups as part of a soil ecosystem, leading towards developing integrated knowledge for improved food security and ecosystem health management. The strategic vision is being pursued along four major themes: i) Understanding the impact of tillage and cropping systems on nematode adaptation; ii) Understanding nematode parasitic variability in cropping systems; iii) Assessing integrated efficiency of cultural practice and soil nutrient amendment strategies; and iv) Developing a soil group or order (the plates up on which different cultures and land use practices stump their ecosystem change footprints) based scalable soil health management strategies.


  • Integrated and sustainable nematode
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Soil health management in cropping systems.