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The pond ecosystem is a fresh water environment that can reveal the health of a local area. Fresh water environments such as the pond ecosystem have specific life forms that show its overall health. Toxins or pollution can affect the pond ecosystem adversely. The importance of understanding the pond ecosystem involves the life forms and plant cultures that are part of the healthy environment. The pond ecosystem begins with what lives in the water. From the smallest microbes, single cell creatures to the guppies, leeches and midges, only clean water can sustain life. The plants that convert oxygen for these creatures are as important as the fauna. The healthy pond ecosystem will have a balance of both plant and animal living with in its parameters. Studying the balance between plant and animal and soil, sedges and underlying strata can give an overall view of the quality of the water table and land. With human activity impacting on the pond environment, toxins can affect the quality of the pond ecosystem. If toxins affect the water, plants can die. Without plants to add oxygen to the water, the creatures might perish. Without the smallest life forms in the food chain, the ripple effect can lead to other species dying out or leaving the pond environment. Leeches have long been an indicator of the pond ecosystems health status. Leeches are found where water quality is good. If the pond ecosystem is not balanced, or there are impurities in the water that the life forms cannot deal with, then one of the first to suffer or leave the environs is the humble leech. Birds, spiders, lizards, rodents, rabbits and larger mammals are all reliant on a healthy pond ecosystem. Without clear clean water, filtered by ample plant life or good drainable soil, the larger animals will need to find other sources of water. Agriculture and the impact of human activity on the pond ecosystem can affect the quality and purity of soil and water. Fertilizer, oil, introduced species, pollution; fishing can all upset the delicate balance that exists in a healthy pond ecosystem. Maintaining the balance, keeping every species alive and in good numbers will ensure a healthy, vital pond ecosystem. Fresh water, climate, drought, humidity, rising salinity are all important factors that can affect the pond ecosystem beyond the initial impact of human activity. The food chain, from tiny water borne creatures that feed midges and insects that feed birds, to the rabbits that feed foxes and the grasses that feed cattle and sheep, all depend on the pond ecosystem to sustain their lives. Water is essential to life on this planet. Fresh water and the quality of fresh water in the pond ecosystem is actually of global importance.

2. Problems
Pond as a water body in an environment has great importance. Its water meets various demands of the rural area. The village people are dependent on pond for bathing, washing of utensils and clothing. The pond water is even used as drinking water. But unfortunately due to lack of awareness the ecosystem of a pond is disturbed by the activities of human being. Pond is polluted due to cattle bathing, domestic wastes, washing of clothing and utensils and also by human excretions etc. As the water body is the habitat of various organisms, pollution disturbs its ecosystem. The balance in ecosystem is disturbed by the abolition of ecosystem or pollution of a pond. For this reason the study of pond ecosystem is very important. It is also important to maintain the pond ecosystem. The biodiversity of lake and pond ecosystems is currently threatened by a number of anthropogenic disturbances including well-known problems such as eutrophication, acidification and contamination from for example heavy metals and organochlorines. These are a specific type of freshwater ecosystems that are largely based on the autotroph algae which provide the base trophic level for all life in the area. The largest predator in a pond ecosystem will normally be a fish and in-between range smaller insects and microorganisms. It may have a scale of organisms from small bacteria to big creatures like water snakes, beetles, water bugs, frogs, tadpoles, and turtles. This is important for the environment.

3. Importance of Problem
Due to the pressures of increased population, everyday somewhere at least one natural water body or pond is soiled for the construction of housing complex. Its influence is long standing and this is a burning problem now. People should be aware of soiling of natural body or pond. Pond can support a village economy through fishery, pearl culture etc., pond can resist flood by holding excess water in rainy season. It can also act as a natural refinery of dirty water. The dry part of the water body can be used for grazing. Therefore, the importance of water body in environment is multipurpose so the study of pond ecosystem and its preservation is important. Aquatic ecosystems perform many important environmental functions. For example, they recycle nutrients, purify water, attenuate floods, recharge ground water and provide habitats for wildlife. Aquatic ecosystems are also used for human recreation, and are very important to the tourism industry, especially in coastal regions. The health of an aquatic ecosystem is degraded when the ecosystem's ability to absorb a stress has been exceeded. A stress on an aquatic ecosystem can be a result of physical, chemical or biological alterations of the environment. Physical alterations include changes in water temperature, water flow and light availability. Chemical alterations include changes in the loading rates of biostimulatory nutrients, oxygen consuming materials, and toxins. Biological alterations include the introduction of exotic species. Human populations can impose excessive stresses on aquatic ecosystems.

4. Objective Of the Project

The main objective of this project is to study how a water body or a pond can form an ecosystem. Another objective of this project is to know the food chain existing in the water body, to know their producers, consumers and decomposers. In other words, simply to study the organisms going and living in the pond habitat is the main objective. Apart from these, to aware the general people about the importance of the water body or pond in the environment, is also an objective of the project. Food chain in a pond ecosystem is divided into three basic trophic levels, namely the first, second and third trophic levels. The first trophic level is represented by the producers or the autotrophs; for example, phytoplankton and plants. They prepare their own food with the help of energy from sunlight through the process of photosynthesis. The second trophic level is characterized by the herbivores such as insects, crustaceans and invertebrates inhabiting the pond and which consume the plants. The third and the topmost trophic level comprises of the carnivores, especially the fishes, which can feed on both plants and the herbivores of the first and second trophic level respectively. In addition to the three trophic levels, there are saprotrophic organisms, commonly known as decomposers, which are located at the bottom of the food chain. Decomposers, mostly the bacteria and fungi are very important in the nutrient cycle as all the organic matter from the dead and decayed organisms is converted into carbon dioxide and nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and magnesium. These nutrients are generated in such a way that they can be readily used by algae and plants for production of food to be consumed by the herbivores. Furthermore, the carnivores consume the producers and herbivores. Thus, the flow of energy is maintained in a pond ecosystem.

5. Plan of Work
I, Avijit Samanta, a student of class XI Science A/2 reached the neighbourhood pond on 10 th April, 2011. I took a notebook, pencil, hand lens, transparent plastic jars, small net with a handle for examination and observation of aquatic organisms. Firstly, I listed the plants growing on and around the pond. Then the animals, which were visible in naked eye, were listed. Then the collected insects, fishes were kept within a jar from the net and observed hand lens. All the work was completed under the supervision of parents and guardians.

6. Data Collection
1. NAME OF THE POND: No particular Name 2. POSITION OF THE POND: Neighbourhood; Debhog; Haldia 3. DATE OF OBSERVATION: 10th April 2011 4. PLANTS GROWING AROUND THE POND: Ipomoea aqatica (Kalmi), Persicaria orientale (Panimarich), Persicaria hydropiper (Bihagoni), Rumex dentatus (Jangli Palang), Elaeocharis dulcis (Jalmotha), Fuirena cilliaris (Bondakola), Scoenoplectus articulates (Chatpati), Echinochlona colona (Shyamaghash). 5. PLANTS GROWING ON THE POND: Monochoria hastate (Nilopalam), Hydrilla verticellata (Jhajhi), Vallisnaria spiralis (pataseola), Ceratophyllam demersum (chotojhajhi), Nymphaea pubescens (shaluk), Nelumbo nucifera (padma), Lemma minor (kshudepana), green and blue-green algae. 6. ANIMALS: Small fish, small prawn, lata fish, toad, frog, tadpole, snail, leech, crab. 7. INSECTS: Water spider, water beetles, Cyclops, mosquito larvae. 8. BIRDS: Kingfisher, duck, cormorant, crane.

Fig: Components of Pond Ecosystem

7. Data Analysis
From the above data, it is evident that a food chain between the organisms living in the pond has been formed. An ecosystem has also been formed in the pond. The producers of this ecosystem are the algae and the green plants. The primary consumers are the small insects like water spider, Cyclops, mosquito larvae etc. The secondary consumers are toad, frog, duck, and small fishes. The tertiary consumers are large fishes, kingfishers etc.

Some information of few observed animals is noted in the following table:

Animal 1. Small fishes

2. Prawn

3. Toad 4. Duck

Respiratory Organ Gills -> Intakes water dissolved oxygen Gills -> Intakes water dissolved oxygen Lungs and Skin Lungs

Locomotive Organ Fins and Tail

Food Water insects and algae

Primary Stage Of Life Cycle Eggs

Belly legs

Water insects and algae


Two pairs of webbed legs One pair of webbed legs

Water insects Water insects, molluscs and small fishes Molluscs and small fishes Female sucks mammalian blood and male sucks plant sap Small aquatic organisms

Eggs and tadpoles Eggs

5. Cormorant Lungs 6. Mosquito

7. Snail

One pair webbed leg and wing Larvae and Larvae swim on pupa stage water, adult flies respire through with wings siphon tube Ctenedium and Body covered by a pulmonary sac shell. Locomotary organ is muscular foot attached with operculum

Eggs Eggs, larvae and pupa

Egg and larvae

The pond water may be divided into three layers as follows: 1. Littoral layer: This is the marginal layer of the pond and good habitat for plants. The producer of this layer are the rooted plants and phytoplanktons. 2. Limnetic layer: This is the lower layer of littoral region. It is the habitat for fish. 3. Profundal layer: It is the lowermost layer of the pond. It is the habitat of microbes i.e., decomposers. The temperature of the pond water also varies from layer to layer. The temperature of the different layers of a pond in summer are shown in the graph on the following page. The temperature of the upper surface of the pond is almost 20C. Generally, the temperature of pond water decreases with increase in depth. According to the temperature of water we can classify pond water in three different layers:1. Epilimnion: The uppermost layer of pond where the temperature is almost 20C. 2. Metalimnion: The second layer which is just below the Epilimnion. The temperature of this layer is about 18C. 3. Hypolimnion: The lowermost layer where the temperature is 15C.


Fig: Temperature graph of different layers of pond in summer


Fig: Algae

Fig: Lotus


Primary Consumers:

Fig: Snail

Fig: Dragonfly

Fig: Mosquito Larvae

Fig: Lata Fish


Secondary Consumers:

Fig: Toad

Fig: Rohu Fish

Tertiary Consumers:

Fig: Kingfisher

Fig: Duck


8. Inference
From the above collected data it is evident that each and every organism of the pond are somehow interrelated with each other and they together form one or more ecosystem. The temperature of the upper layer of the pond is comparatively warmer than the lower layer. The producers of the pond ecosystem are grown on littoral zone. Though the consumer lives on the limnetic zone but they travel to the limnetic zone for their food. It may be mentioned that we have not observed any pollution on the water pond supplied. There are mainly four habitats in a pond ecosystem, namely shore, surface film, open water and bottom water habitats. Shore Habitat: The organisms inhabiting this habitat vary depending upon whether the shore is rocky, sandy or muddy. In case of rocky shores, plants might not be able to grow, whereas in muddy or sandy or mixed type, plants like grasses, algae and rushes can be present along with organisms such as earthworms, protozoa, snails, insects, small fishes and microorganisms. Surface Film Habitat: Surface film habitat, as the name suggests implies to the surface of the pond. In general, insects like water striders and marsh traders, organisms that are freefloating and those that can walk on the surface of water inhabit the surface habitat. They nourish on the floating plants, dead insects, and sometimes, feed upon each other. Open Water Habitat: Open water habitat is inhabited by fishes and the plankton (tiny organisms). Both phytoplankton such as algae and zooplankton such as insect larvae, rotifers, tiny crustaceans and invertebrates are present in this habitat. Fishes feed on plankton. Bottom Water Habitat: Depending upon whether the pond is shallow or deep water, the bottom habitat varies. For example, if a pond is shallow and has sandy bottom, organisms like earthworms, snails and insects inhabit the bottom, whereas if the pond is deep and has muddy bottom, microorganisms, flatworm, rat-tailed maggot and nymphs of dragonflies mostly inhabit the bottom habitat.



9. Limitation of the Work

During observations we have found that many zooplanktons are unknown to us. Their names are also not known to us. We could not identify them inspite of our sincere efforts. This is the main limitation of our work. Again for the observation of ecosystem, it is essential to observe all the organisms, from the producers to the decomposers. But we could not examine any decomposers of our studied pond due to lack of infrastructures and other references. The decomposers are usually microscopic and it is difficult to identify them. We can only state that microscopic organisms act as decomposers in our ecosystem. This is also another limitation of our work. Moreover, students should have swimming knowledge for active works in ponds and other water bodies.


10. Reference and acknowledgement

1. 2. 3. 4. Sharma, P.D.: The Ecology and Environment, Meerut, 1975 Singh, H.R.: Environmental Biology, New Delhi, 2005 Santra, S.C. et al.: Environmental Education, Viswa Bharati, 2006 Internet Sources

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my teacher, Mr. Sumit Ghosal for his continuous help and guidance during the work. Also thanks to my parents and friends for their continuous help and cooperation for the completion of the project work.