Image

Scientists May Be Able To Resurrect Buried Plants In 'Ghost Ponds'

Scientists May Be Able To Resurrect Buried Plants In 'Ghost Ponds'
User Avatar
12 months ago

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.

“Ghost ponds represent abundant yet overlooked biological time capsules and it is thought that the restoration process could play a significant role in reversing some of the habitat and biodiversity losses caused by the global disappearance of agricultural wetlands. Indeed, using the approaches demonstrated by the study, it may even be possible to resurrect locally and indeed nationally extinct plant species in the future.” 

Christopher Hassall, a lecturer in biological sciences at the University of Leeds, tells New Scientist that he was fascinated by the findings. He believes that this is a good way to reverse what “we have done to the environment.” He’s also excited about the potential to resurrect species that have thought to have been extinct.

“For plants to grow back after being buried for over 150 years is remarkable. Ponds are often neglected compared to lakes and rivers because of their small size, but they punch above their weight in terms of the number of species that they contain.”

After just six months of cultivating the ghost pond after digging it up, the area flourished with plants and wildlife. They essentially resurrected dead wetlands and it shows how quickly they are able to restore a valuable resource. These habitats are certainly better than attempting to grow crops on top of them.

Emily Alderton, the lead author of the report at University College London, hopes that this report can be the starting point of regenerating wetlands: “ We urge conservationists and policy makers to consider utilizing and restoring these valuable resources in biodiversity conservation schemes and in agri-environmental approaches and policies.”

RecircStyle5 Eco-Friendly Period Products You Will Actually Want To Use

Most of us are used to buying traditional pads or tampons, but eco-friendly options are growing at an exciting rate.

By Marissa Higgins
3 hours ago
RecircNewsIreland Will Be The First Country To Divest From Fossil Fuels

Ireland will be passing their Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, which is heading to an upper chamber, around September. This forces them to sell off companies they're linked to and hope to get on track to meet their Paris Agreement goals.

By Brian Spaen
3 hours ago
RecircNewsUN Environment And Yale Debut Stunning Sustainable Tiny Home Collaboration

As architects think about ways to create smarter housing in urban areas, one project from UN Environment and Yale aims to show the public what can be done in small living spaces with eco-friendly design in mind. 

By Koty Neelis
3 hours ago
RecircNewsThe Biggest Vertical Farm In The World Is Breaking Ground In November

One of the biggest airline food providers is starting construction on a vertical farm in Dubai as a solution to demand for fresh greens and a severe water shortage.

By Aimee Lutkin
21 hours ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our newsletter