Pond ecology and conservation: research priorities and knowledge gaps

Matthew Hill, Helen Greaves, Carl D Sayer, Christopher Hassall, Melanie Milin, Tory Milner, Luca Marazzi, Ruth Hall, Lynsey R Harper, Ian Thornhill, Richard Walton, Jeremy Biggs, Naomi Ewald, Alan Law, Nigel Wilby, James C White, Robert A Briers, Kate L Mathers, Michael J Jeffries, Paul J Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ponds are amongst the most biodiverse and ecologically important freshwater habitats globally and may provide a significant opportunity to mitigate anthropogenic pressures and reverse the decline of aquatic biodiversity. Ponds also provide important contributions to society through the provision of ecosystem services. Despite the ecological and societal importance of ponds, freshwater research, policy and conservation have historically focussed on larger waterbodies, with significant gaps remaining in our understanding and conservation of pond ecosystems. In May 2019, pond researchers and practitioners participated in a workshop to tackle several pond ecology, conservation and management issues. Nine research themes and 30 research questions were identified during and following the workshop to address knowledge gaps around: (i) pond habitat definition; (ii) global and long-term data availability; (iii) anthropogenic stressors; (iv) pond monitoring and technological advances; (v) aquatic-terrestrial interactions; (vi) succession and disturbance; (vii) freshwater connectivity; (viii) socio-economic factors; and (ix) conservation, management and policy. Key areas for the future inclusion of ponds in environmental and conservation policy were also discussed. Addressing gaps in our fundamental understanding of pond ecosystems will facilitate more effective research-led conservation and management of pondscapes, their inclusion in environmental policy, the provision of ecosystem services, and help address many of the global threats driving the decline in freshwater biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcosphere
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Jul 2021

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