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.


A thick stand of mangroves with tangled roots lines an island creek in Panama.



Mangroves are survivors. With their roots submerged in water, mangrove trees thrive in hot, muddy, salty conditions that...

Inside the Mangrove Forest

Welcome to the mangrove forest, where the daily rhythm of the tides sets the pace. These coastal wetlands create a sanctuary for an extraordinary range of creatures, three-fourths of all tropical fish are born...
Mangroves on the edge of the water.

Mangrove Restoration: Letting Mother Nature Do The Work

Red mangroves form an impenetrable, protective barrier against storms and tsunamis. Credit: Smithsonian Institution By Hannah Waters The ecological importance of coastal mangrove forests is common knowledge today. The trees’ gnarled roots , submerged...
An American crocodile rests on a bed of seagrass.

American Crocodile

An American crocodile ( Crocodylus acutus ) resting on a bed of seagrass . These medium-sized crocodiles are most commonly found in mangrove -lined estuaries and saltwater lagoons between the southern coast of the...

Investigating Nutrient Pollution's Impact on Mangroves

At Carrie Bow Cay in Belize , Dr. Candy Feller explains her research on the effect of excess nutrients on mangrove swamps. Feller runs the Animal-Plant Interaction Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center...

Dr. Nancy Rabalais: Troubled Waters in the Gulf of Mexico

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 from...