Pond Life Timelapse


Stephen Luntz

Stephen has a science degree with a major in physics, an arts degree with majors in English Literature and History and Philosophy of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication.

Freelance Writer

636 Pond Life Timelapse
Daniel Stoupin. By stacking multiple images into a single frame Daniel Stoupin achieves astonishing detail and depth of field

Two weeks ago we linked to Daniel Stoupin's extraordinary video of marine animals with high magnification and time lapse photography. But you don't need to go to exotic tropical locations to encounter amazing underwater activities at these scales. Stoupin has revealed the same thing in local ponds.

Full screen and HD on very much advised
If you're looking for information on Stoupin's techniques to get this kind of high quality imagery it is worth reading his blog
For a little background on the creatures you're seeing here:
Water fleas are not actually related to fleas. Rather they are crustaceans. Common in freshwater environments they grow to 6mm long. They could be called water cyclops since they see through just one compound eye. They engage in cyclical parhenogenesis, reproducing mostly asexually, with the occasional bout of sexual reproduction to shuffle the genetic pack and produce eggs that survive harsh temperatures.
Bryozoa are filter feeding animals. While most species are marine, some such as these thrive in freshwater. Almost all live in colonies made up of animals with specialist roles that could not survive on their own. Freshwater species are hermaphrodites.
The short life of Mayflies is the stuff of legend and poetry; their adult lifespan can be anything from a few days down to a matter of minutes, depending on which of the more than 2000 species they come from. However, that ignores the months or years spent as nymphs beforehand. Most mayflies feed on algae or diatoms, but carnivorous species exist.
Mosquitoes are well known both as a pest and as a transmitter of malaria and dengue fever, but we see them here in the lesser known larval stage. Not all the 3500 mosquito species feed on the blood of mammals or birds. Even where bloodsucking occurs, it is only the pregnant females that partake, requiring the protein to allow their eggs to grow.
Water mites are aquatic relative of spiders, although they only have six legs in the larval stage, they gain an extra two when metamorphosing to the nymph stage.
Ostracods are crustaceans that recently provided a 450 million year old example of parental care
Uniquely for this film, ciliates are not animals at all but single-celled protazoans, although the larger ones can be longer than some of the smaller animal species Stoupin has captured.
Hydra are radially symmetric predators, thus looking more like plants than animals until they try to eat you, at least if you are an invertebrate with the bad luck to be smaller than them. The have attracted interest in recent years for their ability to regenerate, and the fact that they don't appear to die of old age, or indeed age at all. They normally reproduce by budding off the body wall, but like water mites can turn to sexual reproduction when the going is tough.
Hat tip io9.