Haddish Melakeberhan

Haddish Melakeberhan

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Associate Professor
Department of Horticulture

(517) 353-0404



Quick links: Education   Extension   Publications   Research

Joined Department

February 15, 2010


  • 85% Research
  • 15% Extension


Abbreviated CV

Research Interests

My research focus has been on understanding the effects of agricultural practices (APs) such as soil amendments, tillage and cropping systems on plant-nematode-soil-nutrient interactions at the organism and ecosystem levels with the goal of developing integrated, sustainable and scalable nematode, nutrient cycling, and soil health management strategies. We use three nematode community analyses-based models that apply biological, mathematical and ecological principles to translate complex basic and applied multi-disciplinary soil health knowledge into practical application where suitable and sustainable soil health outcomes are identified.

A suitable soil health outcome is one that generates three sets of desirable ecosystem services (DESs): a) improve soil structure, physicochemistry, nutrient cycling and water holding capacity; b) suppress pests and diseases while increasing beneficial organisms in the same environment; and c) improve biological functioning and crop yield. We have adopted the Ferris et al. (2001) Soil Food Web (SFW) model to identify suitable soil health outcomes. This model quantifies abundance and functions of beneficial nematodes relative to food and reproduction (Enrichment Index) and tolerance to disturbance (Structure Index) and identifies if an AP is resulting in best-to-worst outcomes for nutrient cycling and agroecosystem suitability (see fig 3: https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems5020032).

A sustainable soil health outcome is characterized by generating i) the three sets of DESs (described above) while meeting ii) environmental and iii) economic expectations simultaneously. We use our novel Fertilizer Use Efficiency (FUE) model to identify soil health outcomes as sustainable, unsustainable or needing additional measures to be sustainable (see fig. 5: https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems5020032). This model relates changes in the abundance of either beneficial or harmful nematodes separately and ecosystem services (e.g. soil organic matter, nutrients, yield, etc.). Nematodes are quantified at the trophic group level-just as most diagnostic labs do.

Our third and most recent lntegrated Productivity Efficiency (IPE) model applies the same principles as the FUE model on expanded beneficial nematode functions of the SFW model to separate outcomes into sustainable, unsustainable, or requiring specific modification(s) to be sustainable categories for soil health indicator (SHI), nematodes and soil health (see fig. 2: https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems6020035). SHI is the combined outcome of the changes in ecosystem services and nematode abundance.

Lack of integration models is a major limitation to achieving sustainable and scalable soil health management in production systems. A common thread the SFW, FUE and IPE models have is relating changes between and across parameters and drawing integrated decisions that cannot be achieved by considering individual parameters separately. These models can serve as integration platforms for step-by-step alignment of the three sets of DESs (described above) and developing sustainable soil health management strategies that can be scaled up across ecosystems and ecoregions on a one-size-fits-all or location-specific approaches. For help or questions ➔ melakebe@msu.edu.

  The FUE Model that Identifies Sustainable Soil Health Outcomes_2024_2.jpg


Extension and Outreach Interests

Working with MSU Extension Educators, my goal is to increase awareness towards achieving sustainable soil health management strategies in cropping systems by translating complex biophysicochemical-driven information in ways that relate to production. Following are examples of publications:


Program Interactions with Regional/National Nematology Projects

External Nematology Links

Selected Publications

Lartey, I., G. M. N. Benucci, T. Marsh, G. Bonito, and H. Melakeberhan (2023). Characterizing microbial communities associated with the northern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne hapla) occurrence and soil health. Frontiers in Microbiology 14: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2023.1267008.

Lartey, I., A. Kravchenko, G. Bonito, and H. Melakeberhan (2022). Parasitic variability of Meloidogyne hapla relative to soil groups and soil health conditions. Nematology 24: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685411-bja10185.

Habteweld, A., A. N. Kravchenko, P. S. Parwinder, and H. Melakeberhan (2022). A nematode community-based integrated productivity efficiency (IPE) model that identifies sustainable soil health outcomes: A case of compost application in carrot production. Soil Systems 6, 35. https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems6020035

Widanagea, R., C. Chan, Y-P. Tsanga, B. S. Sipes, H. Melakeberhan, A. Sanchez, A. Mejiac (2022). Enhancing technical efficiency and economic welfare: A case study of smallholder potato farming in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Economia agro-alimentare/Food Economy 24: doi: 10.3280/ecag2022oa13227

Melakeberhan, H., G. Bonito, A.N. Kravchenko (2021). Application of nematode community analyses-based models towards identifying sustainable soil health management outcomes: A review of the concepts. Soil Systems 5, 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems5020032.

Melakeberhan, H., Z. Maung, L. Lartey, S. Yildiz, J. Gronseth, J. Qi, G.N. Karuku, J.W., Kimenju, C. Kwoseh, and T. Adjei-Gyapong (2021). Nematode community-based soil food web analysis of Ferralsol, Lithosol and Nitosol soil groups in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi reveals distinct soil health degradations. Diversity 13: 101. https://doi.org/10.3390/d13030101.

Lartey, I., A. Kravchenko, T. Marsh, and H. Melakeberhan (2021). Meloidogyne hapla occurrence relative to nematode trophic group abundance and soil food web conditions in soils and regions of selected Michigan vegetable production fields. Nematology 23, 1011-1022. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685411-bja10091.

Habteweld, A., Brainard, D. Kravchenko, A. Parwinder, P.S. and Melakeberhan, H. (2020). Characterizing nematode communities in carrot fields and their bioindicator role for soil health. Nematropica 50: 201-210.

Habteweld, A., Brainard, D. Kravchenko, A. Parwinder, P.S. and Melakeberhan, H. (2020). Effects of integrated application of plant-based compost and urea on soil food web, soil properties, and yield and quality of a processing carrot cultivar. Journal of Nematology 52. DOI: 10.21307/jofnem-2020-11.

Thuo, A. K., Karuku, G. N., Kimenju, J. W., Kariuku, G. M., Wendot, P. K. and Melakeberhan, H. (2020). Factors influencing the relationship between nematode communities and edaphic factors on selected soil groups in Kenya: Vertisols, Cambisols and Arenosols. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems 23(2): #49

Melakeberhan, H., Maung, Z.T.Z., Lee, C-L., Poindexter, S. and Stewart, J. (2018). Soil type-driven variable effects on cover- and rotation-crops, nematodes and soil food web in sugar beet fields reveal a roadmap for developing healthy soils. European Journal of Soil Biology 85, 53-63.

Habteweld, A. W., Brainard, D. C., Kravchenko, A. N., Grewal, P. S. and Melakeberhan, H. (2018). Effects of plant and animal waste-based compost amendments on soil food web, soil properties, and yield and quality of fresh market and processing carrot cultivars. Nematology 20, 147-168. DOI: 10.1163/15685411-00003130

Cheng, Z., H. Melakeberhan, S. Mennan, and P.S. Grewal (2018). Relationship between soybean cyst nematode Heterodera glycines and soil nematode community under long-term tillage and crop rotation. Nematropica 48, 101-115.

Asiedu, O., C. K. Kwoseh, H. Melakeberhan, and T. Adjeigyapong (2017). Nematode distribution in cultivated and undisturbed soils of Guinea Savannah and Semi-deciduous Forest zones of Ghana. Geoscience Frontiers. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gsf.2017.07.010.

Grabau, Z.J., Z.T.Z. Maung, C. Noyes, D. Baas, B.P. Werling, D.C. Brainard, and H. Melakeberhan (2017). Effects of cover crops on Pratylenchus penetrans and the nematode community in carrot production. Journal of Nematology. Journal of Nematology 49, 114-123.

Nair, M.G., Seenivasan, N., Liu, Y., Feick, R.M., Maung, Z.T.A. and Melakeberhan, H. (2015). Leaf constituents of Curcuma spp. suppress Meloidogyne hapla and increase bacterial-feeding nematodes. Nematology, 17:353–361.

Melakeberhan H, W. Wang, A. Kravchenko, and  K. Thelen (2015). Effects of agronomic practices on the timeline of Heterodera glycines establishment in a new location. Nematology, 17:705-713.

Melakeberhan, H., and W. Wang (2013). Proof-of-concept for managing Meloidogyne hapla parasitic variability in carrot production soils. Nematology, 14:339-346.

Melakeberhan, H., and W. Wang (2012).  Suitability of celery cultivars to populations of Meloidogyne hapla. Nematology, 14:623-629.

Melakeberhan, H., D. Douches, and W. Wang (2012). Interactions of selected potato cultivars and populations of Meloidogyne hapla adapted to the US Midwest soils. Crop Science, 52:1-6.

Mennan, S. and H. Melakeberhan (2010). Effects of biosolid amendment on populations of Meloidogyne hapla in soil with different textures and pHs. Bioresource Technology, 101: 7169-7175.

Melakeberhan, H. (2010). Cross-disciplinary efficiency assessment of agronomic and soil amendment practices designed to suppress biotic yield-limiting factors. Journal of Nematology, 42: 73-77.

Zasada, I., M.F. Avendano, Y.C., Li, T. Logan, H. Melakeberhan., S.R. Koenning, and G.L. Tylka (2008).  Potential of alkaline-stabilized biosolid to manage nematodes: Case studies on soybean cyst and root-knot nematodes. Plant Disease 92:4-13.

Melakeberhan, H., and M.F. Avendano (2008).  Spatio-temporal consideration of soil conditions and site-specific management of nematodes. Precision Agriculture 9: 341-354.

Melakeberhan, H. (2007).  Effect of starter nitrogen on soybeans under Heterodera glycines infestation.  Plant and Soil 301: 111-121.

Melakeberhan, H., S. Mennan, S. Chen, B. Darby, and T. Dudek (2007).  Integrated approaches to understanding and managing Meloidogyne hapla populations’ parasitic variability.  Crop Protection 26:894-902.

Donald, P. A., P.E. Pierson, S.K. St. Martin, P.R. Sellers, G.R. Noel, A.E. MacGuidwin, J. Faghihi, V.R. Ferris, C.R. Grau, D.J. Jardine, H. Melakeberhan, T.L. Niblack, W.C. Stienstra, G.L. Tylka, T. A. Wheeler, and D.S. Wysong (2006).  Assessing Heterodera glycines-resistant and susceptible cultivar yield response. Journal of Nematology, 38: 76-82.

Melakeberhan, H. (2006).  Fertiliser use efficiency of soybean cultivars infected with Meloidogyne incognita and Pratylenchus penetrans.  Nematology, 8: 129-137.

Selected Publications updated January 2024

See Abbreviated CV for a full list