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Pond ecology and conservation: research priorities and knowledge gaps


Matthew J Hill

Helen M Greaves

Carl D Sayer

Christopher Hassall


Victoria S Milner

Luca Marazzi

Ruth Hall

Lynsey R Harper

Ian Thornhill

Richard Walton

Jeremy Biggs

Naomi Ewald

Alan Law

Nigel Willby

James C White

Kate L Mathers

Michael J Jeffries

Paul J Wood


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.


Hill, M. J., Greaves, H. M., Sayer, C. D., Hassall, C., Milin, M., Milner, V. S., …Wood, P. J. (2021). Pond ecology and conservation: research priorities and knowledge gaps. Ecosphere, 12(12), Article e03853.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 22, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 9, 2021
Publication Date 2021-12
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 9, 2021
Print ISSN 2150-8925
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 12
Article Number e03853
Keywords Aquatic-terrestrial linkages, biodiversity, connectivity, ecosystem services, management, policy, small lentic water bodies
Public URL


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