Welcome to the College of Biology

So, is this really going to attempt to be an online Bio textbook? Well, no. (Aren’t you relieved?)

First we’ll look at the Animals, the bigger bugs, birds and beasts, the ones we can see. Even if we limit ourselves to the most important animals that affect the pond we’ll still have a lot to talk about, so we’ve split our overview into chapters on Invertebrates – the Worms, Insects, Spiders, Molluscs and Crustaceans; Amphibians – Frogs and Toads, Newts and Salamanders; Reptiles – the Snakes and Turtles. We finish up with chapters on the Birds and Mammals that most impact the backyard pond.

Next we’ll take a quick look at Aquatic Plants in our 200 level chapters - which ones to use, which to avoid, the basic hows and whys, what to do, what not to – again, a very brief overview to help you bypass some of the pitfalls and help your pond plants thrive.

Finally, our 300 level chapters will introduce what we’ll loosely (and incorrectly, strictly speaking) call the Microbes, the invisible but equally important “wee beasties” that our water features depend on, which we’ll split into Bacteria, Algae and Protists

When you have read all of the chapters in each department, take the Final Exam to earn your College of Biology Certificate of Completion.

A Word to the Purists - Someone out there will disagree with everything we’re saying and how we’re saying it, we expect that. This guide is necessarily fast and loose. We’ll be the first to agree that we’re taking a lot of liberties with the organization of our chapters. To be fair, even taxonomists who live, eat and breathe this stuff don’t agree on how the study of living organisms should be organized, so please cut us some slack. We’re not cladistic geniuses, we’re just trying to help.

FINALLY, if you or someone you know really is a cladistic genius, or an expert about anything that might be helpful to your fellow pond builders, please contribute! Contact “University Headmaster” Demi Fortuna to become a “Visiting Professor” and share your knowledge with the industry.