A Virtual Pond Dip

Take a dip in the jar to learn about some common types of smaller pond life,
with links to Micscape Magazine resources.

The tiny organisms found in pond water are fascinating subjects to study under the microscope, and can captivate both beginners and experienced microscopists for a lifetime!

This virtual pond dip introduces some of the commoner types and hopefully encourages an exploration of the incredible 'world within a world' of a real pond.

Click the mouse over each organism to display its factfile, which also gives links to more detailed articles. Each organism's relative size is to scale in the image; actual sizes are given in the factfiles.

A more extensive guide to major groups of pond life can be found on the Pond Life Identification Kit pages.

You don't need any special equipment to begin studying pond life. For simple tips, see how to collect microscopic pond life.

Notes on the factfiles this jar links to and sources of information are here.

pondmap.gif (45477 bytes)

Image Wim van Egmond

Notes on the factfiles.

Name : Of organism(s); can be a major group like a phylum or smaller group like a genus.

Size : Typical ranges of European species are given, either in mm and/or m (m = micrometer i.e. 1/1000th of a millimeter).

Where to find them : Typical habitats of the organism, but not necessarily all.

Notes :  A few points of interest.

Classification : Which of the five kingdoms and phylum of that kingdom it belongs to.

Return to jar of pond water

References (The following were used, but any errors are the current author's!)

1) 'Five Kingdoms: An illustrated guide to the phyla of life on earth'. By L Margulis and K V Schwartz, 3rd edition, W H Freeman, New York, 1998. Classification of some freshwater micro-organisms always seem to be in a state of flux! For consistency the classification in this reference was used.

2) 'Collins field guide to freshwater life' by R Fitter and R Manuel, Collins, London, 1986.

3) 'A beginner's guide to freshwater algae' by H Belcher and E Swale. Published by the Institute of Terrestial Ecology, London, 1976.

4) 'A beginner's guide to the collection, isolation, cultivation and identification of freshwater protozoa' by B J Finlay, A Rogerson and A J Cowling. Published by the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa, Freshwater Biological Association, UK.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to all the Micscape contributors whose articles this virtual pond dip links to. For clarity their names are omitted in the links.

Image mapping using MapEdit version 2.6.3 by Boutell.Com Inc.

Comments to the compilers Wim van Egmond (images) and Dave Walker (text) (who are amateur naturalists) are welcomed.

Collecting tips


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Published in Micscape Magazine February 2001.

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