Why are mangroves valuable ecosystems?
Mangroves are the coastal equivalent of tropical forests on land and are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. They are usually formed by between 3 and 8 species of woody trees and shrubs and are an excellent example of convergent evolution - meaning that many families have all adapted in a similar way. They are essentially the primary producers of the intertidal zone. They are the backbone of the living system, providing leaves and timber for herbivores (plant eating animals), which in turn are preyed upon by the carnivores (meat-eating animals).
Many different terrestrial as well as marine animals use the large root system of the mangroves as shelter, zones for mating and nursery areas. We know that many species of both commercial and traditionally important fish begin their life among the web of mangrove roots are later harvested as offshore adults.
Learn more in following Odyssey log:
"Very little is actually known about mangroves and their forest ecosystem. We know that they are an integral component of the marine environment. However, the mangrove ecosystem is different from adjacent systems, such as coral reefs and the open ocean, but is critically linked to and totally dependant upon them."
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Listen to the Odyssey log:
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