Running Head: POND ECOSYSTEM 1
POND ECOSYSTEM 3
Chemicals on Pond Ecosystem
Date of Submission
Farm pond ecosystem ought to be managed well for better results. For instance, in our case, it is important to eradicate the invasive plants in order to protect the other beneficial aquatic animals. There are several techniques which can be used in eradicating invasive plants in ponds ranging from mechanical to chemical to cultural. Each technique has pros and cons. Chemical techniques of controlling invasive species save time and involve little labor. However, the chemicals have huge negative impacts on other organisms such as fish. This essay will address the pros and cons of using chemicals in the eradication of invasive aquatic plants.
Ponds comprise of complex systems that support the lives of many microorganisms. Phytoplankton is the basis of aquatic life in the pond ecosystem. These refer to small photosynthetic organisms which are usually single-celled. They are also referred to as algae. Zooplanktons are other small organisms which live in farm ponds and they are members of the animal kingdom that are found on the surface of the water. Examples of zooplankton include cladocerans, rotifers, and copepods. Zooplankton such as crustaceans, insects, and tadpoles consume phytoplankton. Larger animals (invertebrates) like bivalves (fingernail clams), annelids (leeches), gastropods (snails), decapods (crayfish), oligochaetes (worms), and insects consume the small animals. The above creates a complex food web that takes place in the pond ecosystem.
The pros of using chemicals to eradicate invasive plants include the following: will kill the target plants, saves time, effective tool for new and small infestations of invasive plants, less labor intensive than other methods such as cultural and mechanical methods, and lastly, it can have residual control of seed-bank for future years depending on the type of chemical used (Relyea, 2005). Use of chemicals will eradicate all the targeted species or plants. This means all the invasive plants will be destroyed giving room for other beneficial organisms. Secondly, the method is simple and involves simple procedures. This means that it saves time compared to other techniques. In terms of labor, the pond owner is only expected to spray the area with the best chemical and all targeted species will die.
Use of chemicals is also believed to have some disadvantages or negative impacts on aquatic life. This is because the chemicals will kill or affect the other organisms living in the water. For instance, the chemical used to prevent and control invasive plants can have a harmful impact on small microorganisms which are a food to larger animals like fish. In addition to providing food, small aquatic animals determine the health of a farm pond ecosystem. They all have unique habitat requirements and will respond to changes in chemical, biological, and physical makeup of the environment differently (Hahn et al., 2014).
Invasion species or plants spread easily in a farm pond ecosystem and within a short period of time, they out-compete other animals in the habitat. They are believed to reduce biodiversity and also lessen the suitability of the environment for other aquatic animals such as fish. There are a number of techniques which are employed to eradicate the invasive species and they include mechanical, biological, and chemical controls. However, to make the process more effective, it is advisable to combine all of the above methods. For instance, manual removal of plats from the farm pond followed by careful treatment using selective herbicide in order to remove weed residues is very effective.
Biological control, on the other hand, involves the use of natural methods like beneficial insects to reduce the spread or reproduction of invasive plants. For the technique to be effective, farm owners should identify the predators of such plants. Chemical techniques for controlling invasive plants such as the use of herbicides and pesticides can only be effective if used carefully. When used inappropriately or irresponsibly, herbicides and pesticides can contaminate ground and surface water thus translating to negative impacts on other aquatic animals. Herbicides used in water are different from those used on land.
Generally, the effects of using chemicals on a pond ecosystem to eradicate invasive plants include the death of aquatic animals, diseases, and disruption of food-chains. The main problem caused by the use of chemicals on farm ponds is that it kills organisms that depend on the water. For instance, reptiles and invertebrates living in the pond will be killed by the chemicals. In other cases, the chemical can kill useful animals such as fish in the water. This majorly happens when the pond owner uses the wrong chemical to eradicate the weed. There are two types of herbicides, those which are used on land and those which are used in water. Use of land chemicals to eradicate aquatic plants will have a huge impact on the health of the animals living in the farm pond.
Disruption of food-chains- use of chemicals to eradicate aquatic weed also disrupts natural food chain (Hill, Heimbach, Leeuwangh, & Matthiessen, 2018). When the chemical is consumed by the microorganisms and the microorganisms are later consumed by fish, the entire population becomes affected. Lastly, the affected fish, if consumed by humans, cause diseases and infections. People are expected to get diseases like hepatitis by eating poisoned fish.
Chemicals are good if used appropriately and effectively. This is because they eradicate all the targeted species and little labor is needed. Unlike other methods such as mechanical techniques, use of chemicals saves time thus making the method more effective. However, chemicals have a huge impact on aquatic life. They can lead to the death of other beneficial organisms and animals. Consumption of poisoned fish can also cause human diseases and infections.
My recommendation is that the Mountain View College facilities department should not use chemicals to eradicate the plants since the cons are more than the cons. The procedure will have more negative impacts than the benefits. It is, therefore, better to use other techniques such as the mechanical method of eradication. This entails physical uprooting of the plants. This will not affect the life of other organisms in the farm pond.
Hahn, T., Diamond, J., Dobson, S., Howe, P., Kielhorn, J., Koennecker, G., … & Taylor, K. (2014). Predicted no effect concentration derivation as a significant source of variability in environmental hazard assessments of chemicals in aquatic systems: An international analysis. Integrated environmental assessment and management, 10(1), 30-36.
Hill, I. R., Heimbach, F., Leeuwangh, P., & Matthiessen, P. (2018). Freshwater field tests for hazard assessment of chemicals. CRC Press.
Relyea, R. A. (2005). The impact of insecticides and herbicides on the biodiversity and productivity of aquatic communities. Ecological applications, 15(2), 618-627.