|Eastern Amberwing dragonfly hunting the pond edge - Perithemis tenera - REK|
Like other environments, the energy in the pond's food chain begins with the sun. Photosynthesis creates the energy that all animals consume, whether directly from the source or as a predator eating the primary consumer. Autotrophs (think plants and algae) produce carbon based nutrients like glucose from the sun. Heterotrophs obtain it by "eating" plants, organisms or decaying organic matter. At the top of the food chain, carnivores like me obtain energy from both plants and herbivorous animals.
|Six copepods in a tiny droplet - REK|
|Case-carrying worm and Damselfly nymph - REK|
|Giant water bug - REK|
Salamander larva with duckweed. Note feathery gills - REK
Our brief look into the "scum" along the pond edge only sampled a few of the many species that depend on the vegetation, detritus and algae in that first 12 inches of shoreline. Tiny frogs and grasshoppers flitted in and out of the water, patrolling dragonflies watched from the distance and dainty damselflies clung to the grass out of reach. It is all part of life on the edge of a pond.
I have put together life on the microscope stage in this video including damselfly larvae and snails.
* More sophisticated and fascinating pond video's are in Linda Bower's Youtube Playlist.
7-7-17 Thanks to Rob Hunt, Education Coordinator at DNR for helping to clarify my status as a dedicated heterotroph.