Extreme Shallow Environment: Anchialine Ponds

Today I read about an extreme shallow environment that I hadn’t heard of before: anchialine ponds. These are ponds that are near, but separate from, the ocean. They vary from freshwater to saltier than the ocean and are typically fed by undeground springs or other groundwater. In Hawaii, there are about 700 known anchialine ponds, mostly in lava depressions, and they are one of the most endangered local ecosystems there. One of the primary residents is a small, herbivorous shrimp that is called ‘opae ‘ula, which is endemic to these ponds. Larger shrimp and some fish also live in the ponds, as do various algae and plants.

In addition to habitat destruction, anchialine ponds are threatened by use in aquaculture or landscaping. For more info and photos, check out this post on anchialine ponds at Thriving Oceans.

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