From an ecological viewpoint, the spring is important as a natural constant aquatic environment. Compared to lakes and rivers, the temperature is relatively constant as well as the chemical composition and water velocity. The organisms do not modify the pool environment because almost as rapidly as the water is altered by photosynthesis and aquatic organisms, it is replaced by fresh water from the ground.
Springs, from a production standpoint, can be classified as autotrophic and heterotrophic.
Autotrophic springs support a standing crop of such producer organisms as algae and submerged aquatic plants, but plankton is usually absent. This plant base supports a consumer pyramid of aquatic insects, snails, fish and turtles.
Heterotrophic springs are related or similar to those found in pastures. For these communities, a large portion of the assimilated energy is supplied by imports of organic debris. Primary production is small, `whereas herbivore production is large because detritus feeders comprise the bulk of the spring fauna.