The Lakes Portal
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A lake is a naturally occurring, relatively large body of water localized in a basin surrounded by dry land. A lake generally has a slower-moving flow than the inflow or outflow stream(s) that serve to feed or drain it. Lakes lie completely on land and are separate from the ocean, although, like the much larger oceans, they form part of the Earth's water cycle by serving as large standing pools of storage water. Most lakes are freshwater and account for almost all the world's surface freshwater, but some are salt lakes with salinities even higher than that of seawater.

Lakes are typically much larger and deeper than ponds, which are also water-filled basins on land, although there are no official definitions or scientific criteria distinguishing the two. Most lakes are both fed and drained by creeks and rivers, but some lakes are endorheic without any outflow, while volcanic lakes are filled directly by precipitation runoffs and do not have any inflow streams. Lakes are also distinct from lagoons, which are shallow tidal pools dammed by sandbars at coastal regions.

Natural lakes are generally found in mountainous areas (i.e. alpine lakes), dormant volcanic craters, rift zones and areas with ongoing glaciation. Other lakes are found in depressed landforms or along the courses of mature rivers, where a river channel has widened over a basin formed by eroded floodplains and wetlands. Some parts of the world have many lakes formed by the chaotic drainage patterns left over from the last ice age. All lakes are temporary over long periods of time, as they will slowly fill in with sediments or spill out of the basin containing them. (Full article...)

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Lobelia dortmanna full.jpg
Plants in pond habitat

Lobelia dortmanna, Dortmann's cardinalflower or water lobelia, is a species of flowering plant in the bellflower family Campanulaceae. This stoloniferous herbaceous perennial aquatic plant with basal leaf-rosettes and flower stalks grows to 0.7–2 m (2.3–6.6 ft) tall. The flowers are 1–2 cm long, with a five-lobed white to pale pink or pale blue corolla, produced in groups of one to ten on an erect raceme held above the water surface. The fruit is a capsule 5–10 mm long and 3–5 mm wide, containing numerous small seeds.

The leaves are almost cylindrical, blunt, 2.5–7.5 cm long and evergreen. They have no functional stomata. It is one of several unrelated species of plants from low nutrient lakes known as isoetids, owing to their superficial similarity to Isoetes. The leaves of Lobelia dortmanna are, however, easily distinguishable from those of other isoetids in having only two air-canals (Isoetes having four and most others several) and in the presence of milky sap. The plant has the unusual ability of removing carbon dioxide from the rooting zone rather than from the atmosphere. (Full article...)
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