Vernal Pools of Appalachia
There’s a remarkable, intricate world of biodiversity just below the surface of the temporary ponds that form in our forests. Vernal pools fill up in spring as the winter snows melt. For a few months, they host breeding events for amphibians and macroinvertebrates. After competing for mates, frogs and salamanders deposit eggs masses in these shallow, seasonal ponds. While the water is usually fish-free, the early-born often prey on the late-comers, and even insect larvae can take young tadpoles. Eventually, the surviving amphibian larvae become adults and repeat the dramatic cycle.