The UCF Experimental Ponds are near the Biology Field Research Center and include 1.25 ha (3 acres) of secured space for outdoor experiments. The area includes 4 large, replicate ponds that have fully-controlled water levels and natural vegetation, plus large areas for other experiments (e.g., cattle tanks).
Recent research in the Experimental Ponds includes experiments on:
- The roles of local vs. regional factors in community assembly. This work is being conducted in the large blue cattle tanks visible in pictures, and is also being conducted in Missouri and Alberta.
- Underwater vocalizations by sirens (large salamanders that inhabit wetlands in the area). This work is being conducted in the black cattle tanks visible in pictures.
- The effects of common landscaping chemicals on aquatic plant growth. This work is being conducted in the black cattle tanks visible in pictures.
- Environmental conditions that control the spread of willow, a native tree that is invading large areas in the nearby St. John’s River floodplain.
- Environmental conditions that promote the growth of sawgrass, a native grass that used to dominate many wetlands but is less common these days.
- Wetland plants dispersed by feral pigs, which forage in and around wetlands
- Competition between the exotic invasive channel apple snail and the native apple snail
The UCF Experimental Ponds were created by Dr. John Osborne, who conducted important research in the ponds on grass carp, the invasive aquatic plant Hydrilla, zooplankton, and standard methods for sampling aquatic plants.