Lakes vs. Ponds

Both lakes and ponds are standing or slow-moving body of water. There space no main or clinical differences in between lakes and also ponds. Lakes are larger than ponds, but size is relative. What would certainly be taken into consideration a pond in one region might be considered a lake in another. In general, water bodies that are thought about lakes in dry areas would just be considered ponds in areas with plentiful water resources where over there are an ext (and larger) body of water. Despite the absence of official characteristics, there are several concerns that are used to generally differentiate ponds native lakes:

Does irradiate reach the bottom of the deepest point of the water body?Does the water body just get little waves (i.e., smaller than 1ft/30cm in height)?Is the water body relatively uniform in temperature?

If this questions deserve to be answered through a “yes,” the water human body is likely a pond and also not a lake.1


Although vernal pools dry up regularly, they are important sites for breeding and also feeding for many organisms (Image from 4).

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Ponds are regularly overlooked together habitats and also sources that biodiversity, however they play plenty of important duties in the landscape. Many types of organisms spend at least component of their life in pond habitats, which duty as important breeding grounds. Amphibians invest their juvenile step in ponds, together do numerous insects. Some ponds, favor vernal pools (Figure 1) room temporary and only filled through water for part of the year. However, theses pools are still teeming with life and are occupied by organisms such together faerie shrimp, salamanders, and also wood frog tadpoles while they room inundated with water. Ponds also function as crucial stopover point out for moving birds. This spots administer places come rest, as well as a source of food for moving waterfowl.2

Ponds also carry out many supplies for society. Castle are offered for agricultural irrigation, nutrient and sediment retention, recreation, livestock, fish, wildlife protection and also production, and also aesthetic appeal. Risks to pond top quality include, nutrient loading, pollution, acid rain and also invasive species.3

Lakes vs. Rivers

Lakes and also ponds are standing bodies of water when rivers and streams are differentiated by a fast-moving current. When there show up to be clear distinctions, the differences come to be subtle in areas where rivers widen and current slow such the the river might be thought about a lake or a pond. Additionally, rivers may occasionally form lakes such together oxbow lakes when portions of a river end up being geologically separated from the main flow path end time.

River systems make up about 0.0001% the the earth water. While this may not seem choose much, rivers drain more than 75% that the earth surface. Rain and also other types of precipitation relocate water overland, through terrestrial ecosystems and into flow systems. The result runoff brings inputs of sediments, nutrients, and materials right into the river, bring about running waters come be very influenced through their neighboring landscapes. The circulation of river solution carries the sediments, nutrients, and also other materials through the landscape and into various other systems, providing vital linkages between the land, lakes, wetlands and also oceans. The is as such that rivers are frequently referred to together the environment’s circulatory system.5

Lakes vs. Reservoirs

Reservoirs, additionally called impoundments, are artificial lakes. Often, reservoirs can be thought of together a combination of lakes and also rivers because they were created by building a dam and also flooding a river valley. This damming and also flooding create an man-made lake, fill by the flow inflow, v the same features of rivers and lakes.

The upstream ar of the reservoir has predominantly river-like qualities, definition there is frequently still part current, and also the biology in this ar are typically those discovered in rivers. As the water move closer to the dam, the current slows, and also the reservoir becomes more lake-like. At this point, many of the sediments and also materials carried by the river resolve to the bottom the the reservoir. Numerous of the biology inhabiting this an ar of the reservoir room those more typically uncovered in lakes.

However, some reservoirs maintain river-like characteristics throughout. The degree to which riverine properties dominate the reservoirs is often a function of the dimension of the impounded river and also the lot of time water spends in the reservoir (termed residence time). Reservoirs through a quick residence time are more river-like when reservoirs through a long residence time are much more like herbal lakes.

Reservoirs are developed for numerous uses. Part are developed strictly because that recreation (such together fishing and also boating) or to regulate floods. Others are constructed to store water that may be offered for drinking water and also irrigation. Finally, hydroelectric dams use the circulation of water over generators to generate electricity. 6

Freshwater vs. Saline Lakes

People space most acquainted with freshwater lakes. Chances are the lake closest come you is a freshwater lake. Yet some lakes are exceptionally salty. These are dubbed saline lakes. Return freshwater lakes regularly have minor quantities of liquified salts in them (less 보다 1-3 g/L), saline lakes have an ext than this (between 3 and 300g/L). 7 Saline lakes space often discovered in arid environments where water just leaves lakes v evaporation or seepage right into the ground. This evaporation concentrates salts and other chemicals in the water over time.


Endorheic lakes are discovered throughout the globe; significant basins are presented in grey over and the largest endorheic lakes are presented in black. (Image indigenous 10).

Although countless freshwater lakes and rivers drain into the ocean, saline lakes are developed when they are the endpoint to flow flow. These lakes are recognized as endorheic (which way terminal), and also are periodically referred to as inland seas.8 Endorheic lakes usually type because they are at the lowest point in the landscape and are discovered in containers throughout the world. Renowned endorheic lakes encompass the Dead Sea (Israel/Jordan), the good Salt Lake (Utah), Mono Lake (California) and the Caspian Sea (Eurasia).

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Mono Lake, one endorheic lake in California, is exceptionally salty due to the fact that water only leaves the lake with evaporation or seepage. Evaporation concentrates salts, and other chemistry such as arsenic, in the lake over time.

Saline lakes such as the an excellent Salt Lake in Utah provide important habitat for many kinds that organisms. Part saline lakes room too salty to assistance anything however algae, however lakes such together the an excellent Salt Lake room habitats for crustaceans including brine shrimp. The shores and waters of these lakes also provide beneficial habitat and also breeding are for birds such together shore birds and waterfowl.9

Inland seas are vital source because that mineral trade and also often have actually a great cultural significance. These lakes yet are really sensitive to transforms in climate. Due to the fact that of high rates of evaporation in the areas they room located, even tiny reductions in precipitation can drastically reduce their size. V the reduction in size due to decreased inputs of freshwaters, salinity concentration increase, i beg your pardon can adjust the biota and also lead to decreased biodiversity. 5


1. Bronmark C. And also H. Lars-Anders. 2004. Biology of Lakes and Ponds. 2nd ed. Brand-new York.2. California wetlands information system. 2002. Retrieved online at: Oerthi et al. 2005 Conservation and also monitoring that pond diversity: Introduction. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and freshwater ecosystems.5. Wetzel, R.G., 2001, Limnology Lake and also River Ecosystems, brand-new York6. Kalff, J., 2001, Limnology, Prentice Hall, NJ8. Dodds, W.K., 2002, Freshwater Ecology, Concepts and also Environmental Applications, mountain Diego

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