Spring 2021 – sampling in Spanish ponds
Sampling campaigns are a hard period for researchers because frequently the timetable is not very “gentle” and involves “significant” physical effort. However, I think that I am not wrong if we also consider this part of research as one of the most satisfying, at least, if you study nice environments such as ponds and their wonderful inhabitants. Many events can make the sampling day harder when they happen (e.g. someone falling into the pond; cows changing or even destroying our “attractive” equipment, etc.), but they are also amusing to remember some days later. And, of course, ponds dwellers make the field days more amazing. It is always fantastic to find creatures such as newts, water beetles and fairy shrimps – like an unexpected gift.
During the last spring, the teams from University of Vic and University of Girona sampled several “pondscapes” (areas characterized by the presence of pond networks) located in the North-East of the Iberian Peninsula. Sampling was quite exhaustive (and complex) since many different variables were measured: pond features (surface area or depth), water characteristics (temperature, nutrient concentrations, or photosynthetic pigments), ecosystem functioning (litter decomposition and pond metabolism) and biodiversity. For the latter, several fractions of the whole aquatic community will be identified: macrophytes, water column and benthic invertebrates, fish and amphibians (the latter two by means of eDNA methodologies).
Similar fieldwork is being performed in eight of the countries involved in PONDERFUL, so a comprehensive database of information will be obtained. We hope that it will help to improve our knowledge on pond ecosystem services and raise social awareness of the value of these fascinating aquatic habitats.
Dani Boix (on behalf of University of Vic and University of Girona)