Soil fauna, especially soil nematode communities may be used as indicators for monitoring soil biodiversity and ecological processes. A major drawback facing ecologists is the specialised taxonomic knowledge and labour intensive nature of the work required for traditional morphological identification of soil fauna. We review rapid molecular methods, including: DNA Barcoding or sequencing, PCR-DGGE, PCR-TRFLP and real-time PCR, which could enable an empirical assessment of soil nematode assemblages, in relation to their use as monitoring tools. Based on advantages of: high-throughput; ease of comparison between samples; and rapid data analysis, we argue that PCR-TRFLP is well suited to monitoring purposes. (C) 2010 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.