An ecosystem of a pond (pond ecosystem) is a freshwater ecosystem that includes biotic (living) components such as plants, animals, and micro-organisms, as well as abiotic (nonliving) components such as light, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and carbon dioxide, etc. like other ecosystems.
In this ecosystem communities of organisms are living together and are dependent on each other.
Ponds are shallow water bodies with a depth of about 1.8 meters in which sun rays can penetrate to the bottom and permits the growth of plants there.
They provide water for agriculture and livestock.
In other words, a pond is an area filled with water. It may be natural as well as artificial. It is different from rivers, streams because it does not have moving water and it also differs from a lake because it has a small area.
Sun provides energy to the ponds. Like other ecosystems, this ecosystem also has producers, consumers, and decomposers.
Structure of a pond ecosystem
A pond ecosystem mainly contains two components. They are biotic and abiotic components.
Let’s have a look at these two important components one after another.
Biotic components include all the living components such as producers, consumers, and decomposers present in the ecosystem of a pond.
Now, I am going to tell about these biotic components one by one.
Producers are the green aquatic plants. They may be categorized into two groups. They are microphytes and macrophytes.
. Microphytes (Phytoplankatons)
They are microscopic autotrophs that float in the open and fix solar energy. They carry out photosynthesis using carbon-dioxide and release oxygen. The energy thus releases used by bacteria and other animals in the ponds.
Actually phytoplanktons are not plants, they are protists.
The example includes Spirogyra, Volvox, Zygnema, Oedogonium.
They are large green plants that manufacture complex food. Pistea, hydrilla, etc. are examples of macrophytes.
The consumers are heterotrophic organisms that eat producers (green plants) as food. There are three types of consumers in an ecosystem of a pond. They are as follows.
They are herbivorous animals that depend on autotrophic organisms such as phytoplankton or smaller zooplankton.
They are primary carnivores that eat herbivorous animals as food. Insects, fishes, frogs, and crabs, etc. are examples of secondary consumers.
They are omnivores. Either they feed upon plants or animals (secondary consumers). Large fishes and frogs are examples of tertiary consumers.
Decomposers of pond ecosystem are mostly saprophytes but some parasites are also present.
The decomposers also known as detritivores, decompose the dead bodies of producers and consumers into soluble, simpler substances or fertilizers. The fertilizer is used by primary producers.
Examples of decomposers are bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms, etc.
Sunlight, air, temperature, water, soil, dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH of water, turbidity, and dissolved minerals, etc. are the abiotic components of a pond ecosystem.
These components have a direct relation with the living organisms of a pond ecosystem.
The sun is the main source of energy for the producers in a pond ecosystem. It provides heat and light energy directly to the green aquatic plants for photosynthesis.
Air is one of the main components of every ecosystem. Air is a mixture of different gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen, etc.
These gases help the green plants (producers) to prepare their food by photosynthesis.
Water is one of the most important components of a pond ecosystem. Water forms a pond and gives life to many aquatic plants and animals.
Water is almost necessary for photosynthesis.
There is no life can exist without water in any of the ecosystems.
Dissolved oxygen is the level of free oxygen present in water that governs the kind of organisms present in water.
Carbon dioxide is almost essential for green plants. They help in photosynthesis.
pH of water
It also affects the producers present in water.
Dissolved minerals refer to the minerals present in a pond or water. They provide a sufficient amount of nutrients to the green aquatic plants for photosynthesis.
Zonation of light in a pond ecosystem
On the basis of depth of a pond and penetration of light, the pond has been categorized into three zones. They are littoral, limnetic, and pro-fundal.
It is a peripheral shallow water zone in which light can penetrate up to bottom. It contains circulating warm and oxygen-rich water.
In the littoral zone, there are higher plants which are food source for algae and invertebrates and also provide habitat to fishes and other organisms.
Limnetic zone is the central part of a pond where light does not penetrate all the way to bottom.
In this zone, there are no decomposers.
The organisms present in this zone are small crustaceans, rotifers, insects and their larvae and algae.
In this zone, the water level, oxygen content, and temperature varies time to time.
Pro-fundal is the deep water region where there is no penetration of light.
Decomposers and microscopic plants are present in this zone.
Function of an ecosystem of a pond
A pond ecosystem provides home to fishes, turtles, frogs, prawns, and water birds, etc.
they also provide habitat for plants like lotus, lilies, and cattails, etc.
Pond also play an important role in water cycle and nutrients.
A pond also provides shelter to the microorganisms.