Rapid Isolation of Wild Nematodes by Baermann Funnel

Sophia C. Tintori, Solomon A. Sloat, Matthew V. Rockman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Beyond being robust experimental model organisms, Caenorhabditis elegans and its relatives are also real animals that live in nature. Studies of wild nematodes in their natural environments are valuable for understanding many aspects of biology, including the selective regimes in which distinctive genomic and phenotypic characters evolve, the genetic basis for complex trait variation, and the natural genetic diversity fundamental to all animal populations. This manuscript describes a simple and efficient method for extracting nematodes from their natural substrates, including rotting fruits, flowers, fungi, leaf litter, and soil. The Baermann funnel method, a classical nematology technique, selectively isolates active nematodes from their substrates. Because it recovers nearly all active worms from the sample, the Baermann funnel technique allows for the recovery of rare and slow-growing genotypes that co-occur with abundant and fast-growing genotypes, which might be missed in extraction methods that involve multiple generations of reproduction. The technique is also well suited to addressing metagenetic, population-genetic, and ecological questions. It captures the entire population in a sample simultaneously, allowing an unbiased view of the natural distribution of ages, sexes, and genotypes. The protocol allows for deployment at scale in the field, rapidly converting substrates into worm plates, and the authors have validated it through fieldwork on multiple continents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere63287
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number179
StatePublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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