Could extinct plant species be brought back to life? That’s what some researchers in the United Kingdom believe after finding “ghost ponds.” Seeds and eggs left over in the soil trapped under water and farmland could be regrown, and that may fuel the return of agricultural wetlands around the area.
Ghost ponds are found underneath agricultural land as the result of poor drainage. There were hundreds of thousands of ponds in England at the turn of the 1900’s, but these were eliminated to create more productive land over the years. Over 75 percent of them are now gone, but many ghosts ponds that remain create havoc for those wanting to farm on top of them. The ground doesn’t collect enough water and stunts crop growth.
Researchers from the University College London studied three ghost ponds that existed anywhere from 45 to 150 years ago. When they were excavated and studied on, leftover seeds and eggs that were trapped underwater could be restored. In a news article from the university, Dr. Carl Sayer noted that eight different aquatic plant species survived.