How Mangroves Deal with Saltwater

Mangrove Salt Glands
Daphne Zbaeren-Colbourn / Nikon Small World

Looking at a white mangrove (Avicennia marina) leaf cross-section under the microscope, you can see a special adaptation it has for living in salt water. The red mushroom-like structures on the top of the photo run along the bottom of the leaf—they are tiny glands that excrete salt absorbed from seawater back into the environment. The glands can excrete so much salt that salt crystals form on the bottom of the leaf! This image, taken at 40x zoom, won 1st place in the 2000 Nikon Small World photomicrography competition.