Haddish Melakeberhan

Haddish Melakeberhan

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Associate Professor
Department of Horticulture

(517) 355-4487



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 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 bacterivores, fungivores, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and predator trophic groups. All soil-dwelling nematodes are critical part of the soil food web (SFW) and nutrient cycling processes impacting soil health. 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-lesion, Pratylenchus), adaptive (cells modified e.g. cyst, Heterodera) and neoplastic (cells modified and undergo new growth, e.g. root-knot, Meloidogyne) feeding behaviors. We 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 to achieve desired ecosystem services, economic, and environmental conditions simultaneously. 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, soil and ecosystem health management.

Soil health has biological, physicochemical, nutritional, structural and water-holding components that need to be kept in balance and sustainable soil health requires generating three sets of ecosystem services simultaneously: a) improve soil structure, physiochemistry, nutrient cycling and water holding capacity; b) suppress pests and diseases while increasing beneficial organisms; and c) improve biological functioning leading to a steady state of soil health and improved crop yield. Gaps in integrated understanding of the processes driving nutrient cycling and soil health across the SFW and lack of decision-making tools that make sense out of variable outcomes make alignment of the desirable ecosystem services in cropping systems challenging. Based on understanding how the interactions of tillage, nutrient and/or cropping systems management influence on nematodes and soil health, my program contributes towards step-by-step alignment of the ecosystem services by identifying i) agro-ecosystem suitability and ii) potential sustainability of the outcomes, and iii) developing scalable soil health management strategies on the basis of one-size-fits-all or a location-specific approaches.

SFW and FUE Section (06 17 2021)


More on the concepts of the SFW and FUE models’ application towards sustainable soil health management.


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

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: in press.

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). Seasonal variation of nematode assemblage and diversity on selected soil groups in Kenya: Vertisols, Cambisols and Arenosols. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems 23 (2): #63.

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.

Melakebehan, H., Z.T.Z, Maung, S. Yildiz, T. Schmidt, T. Teal, J. Qi, J. Gronseth, C. Kwoseh, T. Adjei-Gyapong, V. Saka, M. Lowole, J.W. Kimenju, G.N. Karuku, P.M. Wachira, G. Kariuki, and V.N. Gathaara (2013). Hidden biological secrets that could revolutionize ecosystem based food security and adaptation to climate change in degraded sub-Saharan Africa soils. UNEP Conference on Harnessing Ecosystem Services, Nairobi, Kenya, August 20-21, 2013. http://www.foodsec.aaknet.org/index.php/widgetkit/capacity-building

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., S. Mennan, M. Ngouajio, and T. Dudek (2008).  Effect of Meloidogyne hapla on multi-purpose use of oilseed radish (Raphanus sativus).  Nematology 10: 375-379.

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 April 2021

See Abbreviated CV for a full list