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It is important for all of us to understand our surroundings, the interaction of various life forms within it, the interaction of our environment with us and how human beings change these interactions. It is also important to educate people about the changed interactions. We have to find out practical, technological and sustainable solutions and value that will help us to develop lifestyles which will enable all people, now living and those yet to be born to have a better quality of life. This project would help you understand pond ecosystems and how the different elements that constitute our world, both living and nonliving, interact with each other in the cycles of nature and in turn how human beings get affected by disturbances in the ecosystems upon which we depend for our sustenance.

An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the non-living, physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water, and sunlight. It is all the organisms in a given area, along with the non-living (abiotic) factors with which they interact; a community and its physical environment. The entire array of organisms inhabiting a particular ecosystem is called a community. In a typical ecosystem, plants and other photosynthetic organisms are the producers that provide the food. Central to the ecosystem concept is the idea that living organisms interact with every other element in their local environment. Eugene Odum, a founder of ecology, stated: "Any unit that includes all of the organisms (ie: the "community") in a given area interacting with the physical environment so that a flow of energy leads to clearly defined trophic structure, biotic diversity, and material cycles (i.e.: exchange of materials between living and nonliving parts) within the system is an ecosystem." The term ecosystem was coined in 1930 by Roy Clapham to mean the combined physical and biological components of an environment. British ecologist Arthur Tansley later refined the term, describing it as "The whole system, including not only the organism-complex, but also the whole complex of physical factors forming what we call the environment". Tansley regarded ecosystems not simply as natural units, but as mental isolates. Tansley later defined the spatial extent of ecosystems using the term ecotope.

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Ecosystems can be permanent or temporary. Ecosystems usually form a number of food webs. Ecosystems are functional units consisting of living things in a given area, non-living chemical and physical factors of their environment, not together through nutrient cycle and energy flow. The broad classification is as follows 1. Natural 1. Terrestrial ecosystem 2. Aquatic ecosystem a) Lentic, the ecosystem of a lake, pond or swamp. b) Lotic, the ecosystem of a river, stream or spring. 2. Artificial , environments created by humans

Figure: Classification of Ecosystem

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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. A pond is a body of standing water, either natural or man-made, that is usually smaller than a lake. They may arise naturally in floodplains as part of a river system, or they may be somewhat isolated depressions (examples include vernal pools and prairie potholes).

One of the most important features of ponds is the presence of standing water, which provides habitat for wetland plants and animals. Familiar examples might include waterlilies, frogs, turtles and herons. Often, the entire margin of the pond is fringed by wetland, and these wetlands support the aquatic food web, provide shelter for wildlife, and stabilize the shore of the pond. Some grazing animals like geese and muskrats consume the wetland plants directly as a source of food. In many other cases, however, the pond plants fall into the water and decay. A large number of invertebrates then feed on the decaying plants, and these invertebrates provide food for wetland species including fish, dragonflies and herons. The open water may allow algae to grow, and these algae may support yet another food web that includes aquatic insects and minnows. A pond, therefore, may have combinations of three different food webs, one based on larger plants, one based upon decayed plants, and one based upon algae. Hence, ponds often have a large number of different animal species using the wide array of food sources. They therefore provide an important source of biological diversity in landscapes. Vernal ponds are ponds which dry up for part of the year. Naturally occurring vernal ponds do not usually have fish. They are called vernal ponds because they are typically at their peak depth in the spring ("vernal" means to do with the spring). The absence of fish is a very important characteristic, since it provide amphibians with breeding locations free from predation by fish. Hence, introducing fish to a pond can have serious detrimental consequences. In some parts of the world, such as California, the vernal ponds have rare and endangered plant species. On the coastal plain, they provide habitat for endangered frogs such as the Mississippi Gopher Frog.

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Globally, the most important service provided by a pond, at many scales, is the production of fish and other wildlife. These are often also a source of food for humans, as well as an important source of recreation. At the same time, these ponds help maintain water quality by recycling nutrients. In agriculture, treatment ponds may reduce nutrients released downstream from the pond. They may also provide irrigation reservoirs at times of drought. In the Indian subcontinent, Hindu temples usually have a pond nearby so that pilgrims can take baths. These ponds are considered sacred.


Thousands of examples worldwide are available to illustrate the pond; a few of these are:

Antonelli Pond, California, USA Big Pond, Nova Scotia Bullough's Pond, Massachusetts, USA Christian Pond, Wyoming, USA Hampstead Ponds, England Milicz Ponds, Poland Oguni-numa Pond, Japan Pete's Pond, Botswana Romberk Pond, Czech Republic Walden Pond associated with Henry David Thoreau

Figure: A pond in Swarzynice, Poland

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In the pond ecosystem solar energy is utilized for primary production by chlorophyllbearing plants such as planktonic algae and macrophytes. This conversion of solar energy into chemical energy (food) is guided by the photosynthetic and chemosynthetic activities going on in the aquatic plant community and the rate at which this is carried out is called primary productivity of that ecosystem. A part of the primary production is cycled through different trophic levels resulting in fish production. Here comes the community of consumers that comprise microscopic as well as large animals, which are unable to synthesize their own food and feed upon primary producers. Different forms of pond life are linked together through predator-prey relationship (Fig.1). This chain of food production, which follows a general pattern, primary producers herbivores-carnivores - appears too simple and straight. But, in fact, it is a complex food web with various cross linkages. Fish populations may be classified into several trophic levels, depending upon their position in this food chain. Phytophagous fish such as grass carp and silver carp belong to the second trophic level as they feed upon the first trophic level organisms. Likewise, zooplankton, feeding upon phytoplankton, also belongs to the same category. Carnivorous fish communities thriving upon zooplankton or herbivorous fishes occupy the third trophic level while other predatory fishes preying upon carnivorous fishes belong to the fourth trophic level. A relatively simple food chain operates in fish ponds, but a complex one occurs in lakes and other larger aquatic ecosystems. The picture becomes even more complicated in large water bodies such as rivers and seas where complex food chains are referred to as food webs which in fact represent several interconnected food chains. There are some fishes which occupy mixed positions, between different trophic levels. They consume both plants and animals and as such, cannot be naturally categorised into any one particular trophic level. A properly managed pond presents an example of a simple food chain under simple conditions. Here the number of food chains is reduced by encouraging the growth of phytoplankton. The macrophytes such as rooted green plants, floating plants, etc., are not allowed to grow. Phytoplankton is consumed by the zooplankton in the water column, whereas its detritus is utilized by benthic invertebrates. Phytoplankton, zooplankton, detritus and benthic organisms serve as food for the stocked fishes such as the desired carp species. India ponds are relatively small and shallow bodies of impounded water with limited wind action. They may be called perennial if they retain water the year round or
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temporary/seasonal, if they do so seasonally. They may be further classified as drainable ponds and undrainable ponds, depending upon the drainage facility by gravity. Drainability imparts a very desirable feature to a pond and some authors prefer to call only the drainable type of ponds as fish ponds. However, Indian experience has shown that experimental fish production to the tune of over 10 tons/ha/yr can be achieved even from such undrainable ponds through a proper understanding of the biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem and adoption of suitable culture technologies. Hence, before adopting any culture technology, it is imperative to have an idea about the basic biology of the pond types in terms of environmental factors, community structure and community metabolism. Thus, as much of the available solar energy as possible is utilized for fish production by proper pond management.

Figure: Pond Food Chain

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The periods of plenty rain and no rain usually prevail in regions having undrainable ponds. With the onset of monsoon, torrential downpours sweep across the land and the amount and frequency of rain decrease towards the end of the monsoon. Severe floods may occur, whereas a late monsoon or early monsoon of short duration may result in serious drought. Flood/ rain and drought influence the ecosystem of the ponds on such lands. Small, shallow and seasonal ponds get filled or dry, whereas deeper perennial ponds exhibit considerable fluctuations in water levels accordingly. Though these ponds are basically constructed for storing water in such areas for multiple uses, ranging from supplying drinking water for human population, livestock, etc., to supplying water for agriculture, recent trend is to utilize them for fish culture. The description of the undrainable ponds is based upon the studies conducted at the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, Dhauli, Bhubaneswar, India, under an extensive environmental monitoring program of rural undrainable ponds.

Figure: Microbial Decomposition Process at the Sediment - Water Interface

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Primary productivity is dependent on light, carbon dioxide, temperature and essential nutrients, each of which can be a limiting factor. Of these factors affecting primary production in ponds, the one that can be manipulated easily is the quantity of nutrient elements through the application of nitrogenous, phosphatic and potassic fertilizers, as in agriculture. In ponds, only the top 2 to 5 cm of soil is concerned with nutriention exchange, and the soil below plays a negligible role in the production cycle. Undrainable ponds receive dissolved nutrients and sedimentary particles carried by rain water from the catchment area. Besides, production and decomposition of minute plant and animal organisms in ponds also modify the properties of the pond bottom to a great extent. The nature and quantity of fertilizers determines the species composition to be used in a culture system. At low phosphate concentration, diatoms are common, but with increasing concentrations green algae become more frequent, eventually giving way to blue-green algae. In addition, excessive phosphate gives rise to phytoplankton blooms which check the light penetration and thus lower the pond productivity through auto shading (Prowse, 1968).

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Ponds which can be supplied with water and drained of its water according to the requirements of the fish farming operation are known as drainable ponds. These ponds require suitable ground with proper embankments, inlet and outlet structures and adequate supply of water on regular basis. Studies conducted on the filling up of ponds from various sources of water supply showed the following cost figures.

Table Chemical, biological and functional characteristics of undrainable and drainable rural fish ponds in Orissa province of India (Olah, 1983; Radheyshyam, Parameters Water pH Total alkalinity (mg/l) Ammonia-nitrogen (mg/l) Nitrate nitrogen (mg/l) Phosphorus (PO4-P) (mg/l) Plankton Phytoplankton (number/l) Zooplankton (number/l) Bacterioplankton (million/ml) Benthos (number/m2.) Decomposition rate of Eichornia leaves: Surface (% dry wt. loss/day) Bottom (% dry wt. loss/day) Gross production (g carbon/m2/day) Net production (g carbon/m2/day) Community respiration (g carbon/m2/day) Sediment oxygen consumption (g oxygen/m2/day) Page | 9 2.88 3.86 4.02 10.99 1.76 10.99 (-)1.29 1.35 1.66 11.34 4.887 7.943 2.37 2.86 1.54 2.84 1.85 8.11 (-)2.4 1.875 2.261 6.071 0.1766 3.514 59 3 911 124 2 770 1.2 12.9 0 2 660 3 860 11 209 1.385 2.312 1 415 19 099 Undrainable ponds Drainable ponds (natural condition) (cowdung treated) 7.0 9.0 50 250 .005 0.300 .005 0.020 0.001 0.050 7.7 8.2 88 200 .005 0.25 .005 0.20 0.040 0.160

Primary production is the start of the food web; plants fix energy and carbon into the system through photosynthesis. The food that this generates will in turn be consumed by the herbivorous creatures like mayflies. This second layer of any food web could be described as the secondary production within the ecosystem. It is this group that may be eaten by the carnivores. Ponds have a high level of predators present because of the huge wealth of plant feeders and detritivores. The food web below just gives a general idea of the flow of energy between the different levels.

Figure: Food Pyramid

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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.

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The biotic characteristics are mainly determined by the organisms that occur. For example, wetland plants may produce dense canopies that cover large areas of sedimentor snails or geese may graze the vegetation leaving large mud flats. Aquatic environments have relatively low oxygen levels, forcing adaptation by the organisms found there. For example, many wetland plants must produce aerenchyma to carry oxygen to roots. Other biotic characteristics are more subtle and difficult to measure, such as the relative importance of competition, mutualism or predation.[7] There are a growing number of cases where predation by coastal herbivores including snails, geese and mammals appears to be a dominant biotic factor.[20]



Autotrophic organisms are producers that generate organic compounds from inorganic material. Algae use solar energy to generate biomass from carbon dioxide and are possibly the most important autotrophic organisms in aquatic environments.[16] Of course, the more shallow the water, the greater the biomass contribution from rooted and floating vascular plants. These two sources combine to produce the extraordinary production of estuaries and wetlands, as this autotrophic biomass is converted into fish, birds, amphibians and other aquatic species. Chemosynthetic bacteria are found in benthic marine ecosystems. These organisms are able to feed on hydrogen sulfide in water that comes from volcanic vents. Great concentrations of animals that feed on these bacteria are found around volcanic vents. For example, there are giant tube worms (RIFTIA PACHYPTILA) 1.5m in length and clams (CALYPTOGENA MAGNIFICA) 30 cm long.[21]



Heterotrophic organisms consume autotrophic organisms and use the organic compounds in their bodies as energy sources and as raw materials to create their own biomass. Euryhaline organisms are salt tolerant and can survive in marine ecosystems, while stenohaline or salt intolerant species can only live in freshwater environments.

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Figure: Energy Flow

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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. EXTERNAL FORCING External forcing is a term used in climate science for processes external to the climate system (though not necessarily external to Earth) that influence climate. Climate responds to several types of external forcing, such as radiative forcing due to changes in atmospheric composition (mainly greenhouse gas concentrations), changes in solar luminosity, volcanic eruptions, and variations in Earth's orbit around the Sun. Attribution of recent climate change focuses on the first three types of forcing. Orbital cycles vary slowly over tens of thousands of years and thus are too gradual to have caused the temperature changes observed in the past century.

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The majority of freshwater fish ponds in the Indian subcontinent are the dugout ponds of an undrainable nature which at times lack proper embankments. During the course of culture operations, such ponds receive huge amounts of feed, fertilizers and manures as critical inputs, and sediment particles carried down by rain water from the catchment area. A portion of the organic production in the pond also undergoes death and decay and gradually adds to the pond bottom sediment. Thus, with the advancement of time, a thick sediment layer is formed reducing the depth of the pond. They are quite rich in organic and inorganic nutrients, but due to slow bacterial action under prevailing anaerobic conditions the nutrients are almost locked up in the sediment and are not available for primary production. Further, the anaerobic decomposition of the organic matter accumulated in the sediment releases harmful gases and depletes dissolved oxygen level in the water.

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.

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PLAN OF WORK I, Sreparna Nag, a student of B.Sc. 3rd year Computer Science (H) of Shree Agrasain College, Liluah, reached the neighbourhood pond on 10th October, 2012. 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.

Figure: More Pukur Pond

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1. NAME OF THE POND: More Pukur 2. POSITION OF THE POND: Neighbourhood; Rishra; Hooghly 3. DATE OF OBSERVATION: 10th October, 2012 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. 9. ABIOTIC COMPONENT: Temperature, Light, Inorganic Components like Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sulphur and Calcium. 10. PHYTOPLANKTON: Algae, spirogyra, Oedogonium, Volvox, Chlamydomonas, Anabaena and Ulothrix. 11. MACROPHYTES: Plants 12. FLOATING PLANTS: Pistia, Lemma, Azolla and Eicchornia. 13. SUBMERGED PLANTS : hydrilla, uticularia, ceratophyllum and vallisnaria. 14. FLOATING LEAVES: Lotus and Water Lilly. 15. CONSUMERS: Primary consumers: Zooplanktons, Daphnia, Cyclops 16. SECONDARY CONSUMERS: insects, fish 17. TERITARY CONSUMERS: large fish, ducks, herons, cranes, kingfisher 18. DECOMPOSERS: Fungi like Aspergillus and Pythium, Bacteria.

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Figure: Components of Pond Ecosystem

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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. Organic matter and mineral constituents of the pond soil supply the required nutrients for chemical and biochemical production processes. The pond bottom also provides a suitable environment for the decomposers like bacteria and fungi to mineralise organic components of the pond sediment and release soluble nutrients. Sometimes such nutrients are not available in sufficient quantity in the pond and hence they are added from outside in the form of fertilizers. Since plankton production is often limited by inadequate quantity of phosphorus which is essential for the assimilation of nitrogen into cellular matter, phosphatic fertilizers are widely used in fish culture.

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Some information of few observed animals is noted in the following table: Animal Respiratory Organ Locomotive Organ Food Primary Stage Of Life Cycle

1. fishes

Small Gills -> Intakes Fins and Tail water dissolved oxygen Gills -> Intakes Belly legs water dissolved oxygen Lungs and Skin Lungs

Water insects Eggs and algae

2. Prawn

Water insects Eggs and algae

3. Toad 4. Duck

Two pairs of Water insects webbed legs

Eggs and tadpoles

One pair of Water insects, Eggs webbed legs molluscs and small fishes One pair Molluscs and Eggs webbed leg and small fishes wing Female sucks Eggs, larvae and mammalian pupa blood and male sucks plant sap

5. Cormorant


6. Mosquito

Larvae and Larvae swim on pupa stage water, adult respire through flies with wings siphon tube

7. Snail

Ctenedium and Body covered Small aquatic Egg and larvae pulmonary sac by a shell. organisms Locomotary organ is muscular foot attached with operculum

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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 is 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. Light energy is one of the major inputs in primary production and hence the success of fish culture depends largely on the efficient utilization of incident light. When incident light strikes the water surface, it is partially reflected and partially transmitted into the water where part of it is utilized in the process of photosynthesis and the rest is scattered or absorbed by suspended particles. In turbid waters, more light is scattered or absorbed, thus allowing the light penetration only to shallow depths. The rapid disappearance of light in such waters affects adversely the growth of diatoms. The bottom layer of water, being devoid of photosynthetic plants and also being in close contact with the decaying organic matter, suffers from oxygen depletion causing critical stress conditions for the fish. Thus, it is important that primary producers must provide oxygen to support the total biological respiration during darkness and also during the less favorable (warmer, overcast or rainy) days apart from providing food for the second and third trophic-level fish.

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Table Solubility of oxygen under different temperatures at 760 mm of Hg pressure (Adapted from APHA, AWWA, WPCF, 1980) Temperature (C) 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Solubility oxygen (mg/l) 9.76 9.56 9.37 9.18 9.01 8.84 8.68 8.53 8.38 8.25 8.11 of Temperature (C) 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Solubility oxygen (mg/l) 7.99 7.86 7.75 7.64 7.53 7.42 7.32 7.22 7.13 7.04 of

Oxygen Budget
The concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water, which depends on the temperature, is an essential component of the aquatic environment to govern the carrying capacity of a pond. Variations in concentration of dissolved oxygen may occur due to the following three important factors:

The saturation level of oxygen in water decreases as the temperature rises; Super saturation is an unstable state, and Plants not only photosynthesize to produce oxygen, they also respire and consume oxygen.

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The saturation value for dissolved oxygen available for fish life at 20C water temperature is more than that at 30C at a particular atmospheric pressure. Dissolved oxygen (Do) concentration is always high at lower temperatures and gradually decreases with increase in temperature. In natural waters, including undrainable fish ponds, DO values are constantly changing because of biological, physical, and chemical processes (Fig. 3). The air above the pond water surface may be considered to have a more or less constant percentage of oxygen. However, the partial pressure of oxygen in the air may vary slightly at a given location because of differences in atmospheric pressure. Transfer of oxygen from air to water will occur when water is undersaturated with DO, and oxygen will diffuse from water to air when water is supersaturated with oxygen. However, the diffusion of oxygen into the pond water is very slow, except under conditions of strong turbulence, hence the most important source of oxygen is that generated during photosynthesis. As discussed earlier, light is the most essential source in photosynthesis where penetration into the water column is regulated to a large extent by suspended or colloidal particles (turbidity) and also by dense plankton levels. Sometimes, phytoplankton blooms or algal scums limit light penetration causing reduction in photosynthetic rates, even in waters with adequate nutrient concentrations. Oxygen production by phytoplankton is greatest near the surface and decreases with the increase in depth because of self-shading. When heavy infestation of aquatic weeds and dense bloom of plankton occur, the situation becomes much more complex. On the other hand, these are additional sources of oxygen at daytime; but on the other hand, they also respire and consume oxygen throughout day and night. At times the pondwater is supersaturated with oxygen during the day, which is a highly unstable state, while during the night, a greater proportion of oxygen is used up for their respiration, thereby reducing the availability of oxygen to fish. Thus, it creates a wide fluctuation in the level of dissolved oxygen, adversely affecting fish life. Figure 5 shows a situation created by algal bloom or weed infestation where wide variations between actual and expected oxygen production do occur (Figs. 4 and 5). In fact, under such situations oxygen production increases to its maximum during the daytime leaving surplus for the fish even after consuming for their own respiration, but at night this surplus level drops down to critical level. Under conditions of heavy algal blooms and weed infestation, the phytoplankton and aquatic weeds actually consume more available oxygen during day and night than they produce during the whole day. During cloudy days, when the incident light is inadequate for phytosynthesis, the situation in terms of availability of DO becomes worse.

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Aerobic decomposition of organic matter by bacteria is also an important drain on the oxygen supply in ponds. Aerobic decomposition requires a continuous supply of oxygen and proceeds more rapidly when DO concentrations are near saturation. However, decomposition also occurs under anaerobic conditions, but the rate of degradation of organic matter is not as rapid and complete as under aerobic conditions. Under aerobic condition, the end product of decomposition is primarily carbon dioxide. At times high rate of bacterial decomposition of dead organisms and other organic bottom deposits lead to a condition favouring the increase of the level of carbon dioxide and other abnoxious gases, with a simultaneous depletion of DO, resulting in fish kills and planktonic collapses (Radheyshyam et al., 1986). Therefore, it is important that the pond water should provide adequate oxygen to support the total biological respiration during the hours of darkness.

Figure: Oxygen Cycle in Pond

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Figure: Effect of Algal Bloom on Oxygen Production

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Figure: Dial Oxygen Production/Consumption Pattern under Algal Bloom/Weed Infestation

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Fig: Temperature graph of different layers of pond in summer


Fig: Algae

Fig: Lotus

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Primary Consumers:

Fig: Snail

Fig: Dragonfly

Fig: Mosquito Larvae

Fig: Lata Fish

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Secondary Consumers:

Fig: Toad

Fig: Rohu Fish

Tertiary Consumers:

Fig: Kingfisher

Fig: Duck

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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 free-floating 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. It becomes necessary to renovate the existing ponds periodically every 4 6 years by removing sediment from the pond bottom, redressing and repairing the dykes, etc., in order to make the ponds more suitable and to regain their fertility. For this, the following practical measures are recommended.

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Ponds, being small, are easily disrupted by human activity. Some principles threats to ponds include the following. Drainage of ponds is a frequent problem in agricultural areas, such as in the prairie potholes of North America. Although ponds are a useful source of water for cattle, overgrazing and wading can turn a pond into a muddy hole. Nutrient sources such as pastures, human sewage, and even lawn fertilizer can cause explosive growth of algae, and the loss of rooted plants and many other aquatic species. Roads near ponds can kill large numbers of amphibians and turtles that may migrate to and from the pond as part of their annual breeding cycle. Many well-intentioned people introduce fish to ponds, being unaware that some species of fish eat aquatic plants, stir up sediment and eat the young of amphibians. The gentle slope of land into ponds also provides an expanse of habitat for wetland plants and wet meadows. The construction of retaining walls, or lawns, can severely degrade the life in a pond. In some landscapes, ponds are artificially constructed, perhaps to provide wildlife viewing opportunities, or to treat wastewater, or as part of a golf course. The design of ponds determines how productive it will be for wildlife. In general, gently sloping shorelines with broad expanses of wetland plants not only provide the best conditions for wildlife, but they help protect water quality from sources in the surrounding landscapes. It is also beneficial to allow water levels to fall each year during drier periods. Roads and houses should be kept as far away as possible. Another important way to add ponds back into landscapes is to restore rivers so that they can flood and meander to create large numbers of natural ponds, including vernal pools and wetlands, in river valleys.

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As soon as the water table of the area surrounding the pond goes down the renovation work can be initiated. Summer is the most suitable period for this Purpose as complete drying of the water body is possible. In this period pond renovation can be carried out efficiently and economically. Removal of slushy silt from the partially dried pond bottom is difficult, laborious and expensive. The process of renovation is described as follows

Figure: View of an Inlet Structure

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DEWEEDING It has been observed that most of the rural ponds are not properly managed and become weed-infested in course of time. Before dewatering the pond, large floating weeds such as water hyacinth should be eradicated by pulling them out manually or mechanically. Otherwise, collection and removal of such weeds will require more labour and time. Other rooted emergent or submerged weeds can be taken care of only after draining the pond. DEWATERING AND DRYING Dewatering of the existing pond is possible either by draining the water after cutting a portion of the embankment or by pumping out. If the water table in the surrounding area is high, there is considerable inflow of water from the pond bottom. This phenomenon of subsurface secretion is called percolation. In case the rate of percolation is high, several furrows or ditches may be made towards the lowest contour point where a pit may be dug out to drain all the percolated water (Fig. 11). Periodical pumping of water from the pit facilitates keeping the bed dry. CONTOURING Where the bed is found to be uneven, contouring is necessary to estimate the amount of silt to be removed. It is done by taking the level measurements at certain spots on the pond bed. It will also help in redesigning the pond taking into consideration the highest flood level and maximum rain water level. DISTILLING After complete dewatering, the pond bed is allowed to dry and develop cracks in the silt mass. The texture of silt is different from that of the bottom hard soil and cracks quickly. At this stage dried silt is cut and removed manually or mechanically and heaped at a suitable place for its utilization in agricultural fields. Where complete drying is not possible due to high rate of percolation, walking platforms made up of bamboos or wooden planks may be put on the slushy bed to facilitate distilling work. In some larger ponds it becomes difficult to dry the central portion of the pond bottom as it is nearer to underground water table. In such cases the slushy and loose silt should be scrapped and spread to the sides with the help of wooden planks tied with ropes for pulling. This helps in drying the silt and easy removal thereafter.

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RECLAMATION OF DERELICT WATER BODIES Derelict waters in millions of hectares, lying unutilized, are common sights in most of the South Asian countries. Such untapped water bodies with potential for aquacultural production may be reclaimed and made suitable for fish culture by adopting more or less similar procedures. In case of larger water areas, it would be better if they are connected temporarily to nearby natural or man-made drainage systems having relatively lower bed level for complete dewatering by gravity and making the entire area completely dry. However, if such topographic facilities are not available, heavy duty water pumps may be put into use for quicker dewatering. In extensively large areas dewatering by draining or by pumping is not feasible. Moreover, the dry period of the year also may not last long enough to permit the work to be completed. It has been experienced that such areas can also be successfully reclaimed and renovated by partitioning into smaller units by raising cross bundhs, farm roads, etc. Each newly formed unit then can be dewatered, dried and desilted. MAINTENANCE OF DYKES In general, rural ponds lack proper embankments. During high rainfall or peak irrigation periods in canal-irrigated areas such ponds get inundated with water from the neighbouring agricultural fields causing stocked fish to escape, predators and unwanted species to enter and at times results in mass fish kills due to pesticide pollution. Hence, provision of proper dykes is a must. Existing pond dykes should be repaired every year after the monsoon. Rats and crabs cause great harm to pond dykes by making holes. Such holes allow serious leakage and if not checked immediately, may endanger the stability of the dykes. Periodically, and especially at the time of renovation, such spots should be properly repaired by stuffing binding clay, claylime mixture or any other locally cheap cementing material. Due to poor consolidation, erosion from the top of the dyke during heavy rains usually results in grooving out of small channels. These areas should be covered with earth, levelled, thoroughly rammed and grass turfed. In relatively larger ponds, wave action due to wind also causes large-scale dyke erosion. By putting large floating aquatic plants such as water hyacinth along the sides of the dykes exposed to wave action during the windy season such erosion can be checked. Frequent erosion in steep dykes during heavy rain or wind can be avoided by strengthening the inner sides of the dykes with poles or bamboos or corrugated cement planks.

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Most of the traditional pond dykes are below the required height; as a result, overflow of water occurs during heavy rains or flood. These dykes should be properly raised and the height may be kept at a minimum of one meter above the maximum water level recorded in that area. While raising the dykes, the top width may be kept at a minimum of 1.5 m with 2:1 slope (horizontal: vertical). Cutting the dyke to allow water into the pond from the surrounding area without any secured screening is a normal practice, which however creates many management problems. It is necessary to provide permanent inlet structures wherever is possible. The silt mass is very rich in organic and inorganic nutrients making it most suitable for application in agriculture and horticulture. Being non-cohesive and unstable, it is unsuitable for making dykes as it may be washed back in the pond. Proper maintenance of the pond and pond structure is most essential. Most of the earthen structures, especially the dykes, are susceptible to weathering action and hence they need periodical checks. Attending to minor damages regularly avoids the chances of more costly repairs later. The grass turfing needs special attention. Proper and timely mowing prevents the formation of weedy growth and tends to develop a root system more resistant to runoff. Erosion from the top during heavy rains causes grooving out of small channels and it is an indication that the top has not been properly consolidated. The area should be levelled with more soil and thoroughly rammed and then grass should be planted to bind it. Side erosion at the dyke bottom may be due to a number of reasons. The worst damage is done by common carp. Erosion due to frequent wave action, particularly if the grass at the edge has been grazed by grass carp, can cause undercutting of banks and subsequent collapse of dykes. Some methods used to provide protection against such erosion are earth berms, stone or brick pitching, stakes/bamboo piling.

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Figure: Additional Detail Surface washings and organic additions cause siltation which reduces the pond depth and pond fertility. The undrainable ponds should therefore be dewatered in the summer months at the interval of 57 years. This has already been described under Section 4.

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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.

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 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 Biology Concepts & Connections Sixth Edition, Campbell, Neil A. (2009). (1996) Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography. Prentice Hall Inc. Odum, EP (1971) 6. Fundamentals of ecology, third edition, Saunders New York 7. Tansley, AG (1935). "The use and abuse of vegetational terms and concepts". Ecology 8. Tansley, AG (1939) The British islands and their vegetation. Volume 1 of 2. CambridgeUniversity Press, United. Kingdom. 9. United Nations Environment Programme. Convention on Biological Diversity. June 1992. 10.UNEP Document no. Na.92-78. Reprint 11.Mller-Dombois & Ellenberg: "A Tentative Physiognomic-Ecological Classification of Plant Formations of the Earth". 12.Hatcher, Bruce Gordon (1990). "Coral reef primary productivity. A hierarchy of pattern and process". 13.Alexander, David E. (1 May 1999). Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Springer. ISBN 0-412-74050-8 14.Silliman, B. R., Grosholz, E. D., and Bertness, M. D. (eds.) (2009). Human Impacts on Salt Marshes: A Global Perspective. Berkeley, CA: University of California 15.Graham, J. B. (1997). Air Breathing Fishes. San Diego, CA: Academic Press 16.Moss, B. (1983). The Norfolk Broadland: experiments in the restoration of a complex wetland. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 17.Vaccari, David A. (8 November 2005). Environmental Biology for Engineers and Scientists. Wiley-Interscience. ISBN 0-471-74178-7. 18.Clegg, J. (1986). Observer's Book of Pond Life. Frederick Warne, London. 19.Loeb, Stanford L. (24 January 1994). Biological Monitoring of Aquatic Systems. CRC Press. ISBN 0-87371-910-7. 20.Vallentyne, J. R. (1974). The Algal Bowl: Lakes and Man, Miscellaneous Special Publication No. 22. Ottawa, ON: Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Marine Service.

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