Sunday, February 24, 2013


Mangroves are woody and salt-tolerant plant that is adapted to loose, wet soils and changing tides. Mangroves grow best in sheltered tropical and subtropical coasts between 30 degrees north to 30 degrees south with the average temperature above 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Three of the 50 different species of mangroves include Red Mangroves, Black Mangroves, and White Mangroves.

Red Mangroves are more salt-tolerant than black or white mangroves and grow closest to sea. They also stand "knee-deep" in water. A unique adaptation of Red Mangroves are the prop roots which help anchor them in loose mud and protect them from strong winds, waves, and tides.

Black Mangroves grow closer to the shore in the intertidal zone in anaerobic soils. They have adapted to this environment by having pneumatophers which are shallow roots that grow horizontally and send up vertical roots which bring oxygen to the rest of the root.

White Mangroves live the furthest from the water, are the least tolerant of saltwater, are usually found on higher ground, and have no special root adaptations. 

Benefits from mangroves include:
  • They protect vulnerable coastlines from wave action because they hold the soil together and prevent coastal erosion.
  •  Mangrove wetlands provide breeding, nursery and feeding areas for a great variety of life, including endangered and threatened species.
  •  Mangroves also filter upland run off.
Mangroves help the fishing industry by providing a nursery for young fish and other organisms until they're old enough to survive in the ocean which leads to more fish able to catch. The roots of mangroves help absorb the action from waves and help prevent shoreline erosion. Mangroves and also filter pollutants, absorb excess nutrients from runoff, and trap sediments, helping to increase the clarity and quality of waters.

- Victoria Mehlhaff -

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