Coastal Plain Ponds

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Richard McHorney
Claire O’Dea
Maíra Bezerra
Maribeth Kniffin


2009. Kniffin, M., C. Neill, R. M. McHorney and G. Gregory. Nutrient limitation of periphyton and phytoplankton in Cape Cod coastal plain ponds. Northeastern Naturalist 16:395-408.

2009. Neill, C., M. O. Bezerra, R. McHorney and C. B. O’Dea. Distribution, species composition and management implications of seed banks in southern New England coastal plain ponds. Biological Conservation 142:1350-1361.

2007. McHorney, R. M. and C. Neill. Alteration of water levels in a Massachusetts coastal plain pond subject to municipal ground water withdrawals. Wetlands 27:366-380.

Coastal plain ponds occur in kettle-hole depressions and reach their greatest abundance on Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts. Fluctuating water levels along pond shorelines maintain a diverse plant flora that contains many rare plants that are found only in these ecosystems. Coastal plain ponds are threatened by municipal groundwater withdrawals, water level stabilization and nutrient loading from surrounding watersheds. I investigate how water level fluctuations influence plant distributions and how changes to water levels caused by water withdrawals will affect the distribution and persistence of shoreline plants.

A small pond near Long pond in Falmouth is an example of a high quality coastal plain pond

water level

Fluctuating water levels along the shoreline of Mary Dunn Pond in Hyannis

in lab

Maíra Bezerra, Mario DeGregorio and Roberta Lombardi identify shoreline plant seedlings

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