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Mangroves: The Roots of the Sea | by Eustaquio Santimano
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Mangroves: The Roots of the Sea

Mangroves, Pulau Ubin, Singapore


Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes 25° N and 25° S. Such bosks are also part of the mangrove forest biome. The saline conditions tolerated by various species range from brackish water, through pure seawater (30 to 40 ppt), to water concentrated by evaporation to over twice the salinity of ocean seawater (up to 90 ppt).


There are many species of trees and shrubs adapted to saline conditions. Not all are closely related, and the term "mangrove" may be used for all of them, or more narrowly only for the mangrove family of plants, the Rhizophoraceae, or even more specifically just for mangrove trees of the genus Rhizophora.


Mangroves form a characteristic saline woodland or shrubland habitat, called mangrove swamp, mangrove forest, mangrove or mangal. Mangals are found in depositional coastal environments, where fine sediments (often with high organic content) collect in areas protected from high-energy wave action. Mangroves dominate three quarters of tropical coastlines.


Mangroves are very delicate and complex ecosystems. They’re the only species of tree that lives in the sea and have special adaptations so they can survive in salt water. They act as a vital nursery ground for many species of fish.

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Taken on December 21, 2010