A pond is a small body of freshwater that is usually shallow enough for sunlight to reach the bottom and allow rooting plants to grow. Ponds vary greatly in size, can be found all over the world and house some of the most diverse communities of plant and animal life of any ecosystem. Climate in a pond ecosystem depends on what type of pond it is. Limnologists, scientists who specialize in fresh-water systems, have described five types of ponds: cypress ponds, bog ponds, meadow-stream ponds, mountain ponds and farm ponds.
Cypress ponds are characterized as having brown-colored water and can be found around the Mississippi Basin in the United States. Typically, these ponds support willow, cypress and bay trees along their shores and out into the waters. Because cypress ponds span such an extensive region, the climate of these ponds changes over the seasons from warm and moist to hot and dry, with some cypress ponds drying out completely for parts of the year.
Highly acidic and muddy waters distinguish bog ponds from other types of ponds. Scattered throughout the temperate regions of North America, bog ponds are often very hot, humid and wet. The relative stability in the temperatures surrounding these ponds allow for extremely diverse communities of fish, insects, amphibians and birds to thrive in the deep and shallow waters, as well as the alder trees that typically grow along the shores of bog ponds. Floating leaf plants that often cover the entire water surface limit the amount of sunlight that reaches the pond floor, providing extra stability for aquatic animals.
Meadow-stream ponds exist where the landscape causes freshwater streams to widen sufficiently to slow the currents and create pondlike conditions. Shallow waters in these ponds support an abundance of plant life, such as cattails, pondweeds and other leafy plants. Floating-leaf plants, such as lilies and water shields, are also common in meadow-stream ponds. Since streams exist all over the world, the specific climate of a meadow-stream pond ecosystem varies, depending on the local climate of its geographical region.
Mountain ponds are created by glaciers. The climate of mountains changes depending on altitude, and this has an impact on the climate of mountain ponds. They typically exist in colder climates, often consisting of ice and meltwater. The floors of mountain ponds range from rocky to muddy, and some completely dry out in the height of summer. Remarkably, despite the short summers and long, bitter winters, some of these ponds host a variety of plants and animals.
Farm ponds are man-made bodies of water constructed to help keep farmland fertile by preventing soil erosion. They also collect quality water through runoff for livestock, fish, and wildlife, and are great for recreational activities. Since these ponds do not exist naturally, their ecosystem has to be constantly monitored to ensure the longevity of the pond. Farm ponds have to be apart from any other streams or other water systems that might feed silt and other debris that can destroy the artificial pond, and the water levels must be controlled to prevent flooding.