Introduction: A pond is either a natural or an artificial body of water that is enclosed. Ponds can occur naturally in the world or they can be human made (such as a garden pond).
An ecosystem is the technical term for a community of organisms. For such a community to form an ecosystem, it needs to be a distinct system where the organisms live and interact.
Pond Ecosystem is differs from other water ecosystems. Unlike the river ecosystem, which is categorized under the Lotic systems, pond ecosystem falls under the Lentic ecosystem for the reason that the water remains stagnant in ponds for a relatively longer period time.
Meaning of Pond Ecosystem
A pond ecosystem is a system of organisms that live together in a pond. A pond ecosystem can be defined in three ways:
- A closed community of organisms in a body of water.
- An enclosed body of water that houses numerous different creatures.
- A biological system that includes water and plant and animal life interacting with each other.
So, to summarize, a pond ecosystem is:
- A community of organisms living together…
- Within a body of water that can be either…
- Artificially enclosed or….
- Naturally enclosed.
- A distinct community with its own ecology.
Types of pond ecosystem.
Ponds can come in many different forms, and they all have their own differentiating characteristics. Below, you will find a discussion of some of the key types of pond ecosystem.
1. Salt ponds.
Salt ponds contain brackish (i.e. salty) water and can occur close to the sea side where waterlogged ground creates natural pools. Salt ponds can also occur in rocky areas on the beach, though here they are called rock pools. It is also possible to find salt ponds inland, thanks to the presence of brackish streams created through streams flowing through salty rocks.
2. Garden ponds.
These artificially created ponds can contain ornamental plant and animal species that come from all over the world (i.e. non native species).
3. Freshwater pools.
Freshwater pools can form anywhere inland, either from rainfall or from the presence of water saturating the soil. They can also be created by rivers flowing in to a depression in the ground. They can be home to fish, birds, amphibians, crustaceans and many other kinds of wildlife.
4. Vernal pools.
Vernal pools are seasonal ponds. They form in depressions in the ground, but only during certain types of the year when the rainfall is heaviest. As a result, they will attract certain types of animals and birds that are in need of a drink whenever they appear and at other times of the year will be relatively deserted – one example for instance is a seasonal oasis in the desert. These types of pond ecosystems are sometimes referred to as ephemeral pools as well, to reflect the fact that they only exist at certain times of year.
5. Underground ponds.
Ponds can also form underground, in the rocky environment of caves. Here, a surprising amount of life can be found, including fish, different bacteria, lichens and so on.
Characteristics of pond ecosystems.
There are several things that mark pond ecosystems out from other types of ecosystems. Below, you will find a list of some of the main features of these ecosystems.
1. Still waters: pond ecosystems are lentic ecosystems – i.e. they involve stagnant or standing water.
2. Surrounded by banks: by definition, pond ecosystems are surrounded by either artificial or natural banks.
3. Wet: these ecosystems are wet and humid ones.
4. Different levels: distinct communities of creatures will live at different levels of a pond. Crustaceans and deep water fish may live at the lower level, for example, whilst birds and blooming plants may live towards the surface.
5. Variable in size: some pond ecosystems can be very small (such as a rockpool) whilst others can be almost as large as a lake.
Importance of pond ecosystems.
Pond ecosystems are very important, and for this reason it is vital that we take steps to protect and nurture them. Below, you will find some significant reasons why this is the case.
Pond ecosystems are very important habitats for so many different types of fish, birds, plants and crustaceans as well as insects such as dragonflies, damsel flies and pond skaters.
Pond ecosystems can be found on every continent on the planet. That makes them very important for the life of organisms all over the world.
Pond ecosystems are very abundant. Not only can they be found almost everywhere, they can be found plentifully. That, again, makes them a key habitat for many different species.
4. Source of hydration.
Even if they do not actually live in the pond ecosystem, many species of animals will come to pond ecosystems whenever they need a drink. A key example is a watering hole in a prairie or desert. Humans can also use these ecosystems as a source of water.
Pond ecosystems are very beautiful as well. As we watch the sunlight reflecting off the surface of a pond we can feel inspired, calm and in touch with nature.
Though they can be found all over the globe, pond ecosystems are often neglected by conservationists. All of our wetland ecosystems ought to be safeguarded because they are vital habitats for an abundance of different species. This includes pond ecosystems which, as we have seen, can come in many different shapes and forms and can perform many different functions.
Do you have your own garden pond? Or perhaps you live close to a pond ecosystem yourself? What kinds of organisms can be found in there? Look closely at a pond ecosystem and you will quickly see that it is teeming with even more life forms than you initially thought.
Unfortunately, the world’s pond ecosystems are being threatened by many factors. These include the drainage of wetlands for industrial purposes, pollution, urban sprawl and global warming which is changing the face of the planet and its weather systems. So, it is up to us right now to do all that we can to look after these beautiful and significant ecosystems. What steps might you take in your daily life to preserve and safeguard the beautiful pools and ponds of the world for future generations to enjoy?