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SPEC 9. Microbial Diversity in Priest Pot: A Productive Pond in the English Lake District

by B.J. Finlay & S.C. Maberly

Published by The Freshwater Biological Association, Ambleside, August 2000, in collaboration with the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Windermere.

73 pages

ISBN 978-0-900386-64-0

Price £24.00

Priest Pot is a small, shallow pond that lies at the head of Esthwaite Water in the English Lake District. It has remained relatively undisturbed for 400 years and, together with the adjoining fen, is a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is a complex and productive ecosystem with many discrete habitats, where most biological activity is driven by micro-organisms and where it is possible to find an extraordinary variety of microbial species. The pond has been studied for more than fifty years and it is probably fair to say that more is known about the natural history of Priest Pot than of any other waterbody of similar size.

This booklet provides a history of the development of the pond, and summarises current knowledge and understanding of the complex interrelationships that exist between micro-organisms and the environment in the pond. It has been produced at a time when there is an increasing awareness of the importance of ponds in the landscape, from both a scientific and a biodiversity/conservation perspective. Although much is known about microbial interactions in the pond there is a great deal more to be learnt, and it is an ideal site for multidisciplinary investigations. Priest Pot is proposed as a focus for freshwater research within the Marine and Freshwater Biodiversity Thematic Programme sponsored by the Natural Environment Research Council in the UK. This booklet will be of interest not only to those wishing to take part in the Thematic Programme, but also to anyone who wishes to understand more about microbial processes in ponds.

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