Mangroves

Through the use of specially adapted filtration systems, mangrove trees manage to survive in hot, salty and muddy conditions that would kill your average tree. They play a vital role in the ecosystem, especially as a nursery to many commercially important fish.

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This is a close-up view of the peat soil surface in an intact mangrove forest. Mangrove roots help to build the peat underlying mangrove islands Over thousands of years, the organic deposits grow to...
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Happy International Mangrove Action Day! This occasion is a small but vibrant...
Arching mangrove roots like these help keep trunks upright in the soft...
Mangrove roots provide support for filter-feeders like sponges, mussels,...

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The lettuce sea slug ( Elysia crispata ) has enlarged fleshy appendages that are folded over one another, with colors ranging from blue to green, with purple and red lining. The green coloring is what gives this mollusk it's...
At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the...
West Indian Manatees, Trichechus manatus , are found in warm, shallow...

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Mangroves are survivors. With their roots submerged in water, mangrove trees thrive in hot, muddy, salty conditions that...
How do plants respond to rising CO2 levels? To find out, plant physiologist Bert Drake at SERC exposed marsh plants near the Chesapeake Bay to CO2 levels expected in 50 and 100 years. Different...
More than 40 years after the 1969 oil spill in Massachusetts’ Wild Harbor salt marsh, environmental chemist Dr. Chris Reddy from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution finds that the oil is still...
Thalassinidean shrimp ( Thalassinidea ) build complex burrows deep in the mud. More about mangroves ecosystem can be found in our Mangroves featured story .
In coastal towns and cities, vast areas now inhabited by super markets, houses, roads, parking lots, hotels and schools were once occupied by mangrove forests . Growing out of the ocean and onto the...
On April 27, 1986, an estimated 50,000 barrels of medium-weight crude oil drained from a ruptured storage tank at a refinery in Panama, polluting the coast and the Smithsonian Tropical Research...
This orchid ( Brassavola sp. ) grows in the mangroves of Belize—providing a spot of grace and beauty amidst the mud. More about the plants and animals found in mangrove forests can be found in the...
Arching mangrove roots like these help keep trunks upright in the soft sediments at water’s edge. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves featured story .
Over the past several decades, Florida’s coastal wetlands have been changing. Along the eastern shore, researchers have seen small mangrove trees appearing in areas further north than they usually...
Mangroves canopies support an amazing array of life—including this mangrove yellow warbler ( Dendroica petechia bryanti ), the most common songbird in the mangroves of the Caribbean’s Mangal Cay...
Newly established black mangrove ( Avicennia germinans ) in a field of salt marsh ( Spartina alterniflora and Batis maritima ) in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in...
This beautiful bromeliad, also called an air plant because it gets its nutrients and water from the air, is a flowering plant in the pineapple family. All of them are epiphytes, meaning they get...
Flattened against a leaf, a tree frog blends right in with the mangroves. More about mangroves can be found in our Mangroves featured story.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill brought the world’s attention to the Gulf of Mexico and raised awareness of the region’s chronic loss of wetlands and the massive dead zone caused by excess nutrients...
The invasive reed Phragmites australis can create new plants through seeds (shown here) or underground rhizomes. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have discovered that seeds...
The Sundarbans site in Bangladesh was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997. The site’s mangrove forest is one of the largest remaining areas of mangroves in the world and supports a rich...
Dennis Whigham , a senior botanist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center , makes his quick pitch for why you should care about the wetland plant Phragmites australis . A European strain of...
What is blue carbon? It's a term used to describe the carbon that is captured from the atmosphere by ocean ecosystems, mainly coastal mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes. These coastal areas can...
This mangrove island in the Pelican Cays, Belize, was clear-cut and filled with dredged sand and coral from the adjacent reef flat. Developers are clearing and dredging mangroves in an attempt to...
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