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Mangroves are pretty fantastic.  They have adaptations that allow them to live in saltwater. They exhibit vivipary, i.e. the seeds germinate while still on the plant and the propagules fall into the water as fully formed seedlings. They keep the coastline from eroding away. They provide a unique habitat for scores of animals. By trapping sediments in the roots, they actually make new land (a useful characteristic given rising sea levels). Unfortunately, mangrove ecosystems throughout the world are being decimated by coastal development. Go here or here for more about the currently dire situation with mangroves. 

Vieques still has some beautiful stands of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle  L.), and slight trails have been cut through some of these so that you can skim through in a kayak. Which is how I got this video. [NOTE: The lovely bird hopping through the thicket of mangrove roots (starting at 0:34) is a green heron (Butorides virescens L.).]

Reader Comments (2)

this is achingly beautiful, chuck. the music, the brief journey, the mangrove web the perfect visual follow-up to your essay on the EHZC blog on the Genjokoan. thank you for every bit of it.

April 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Thames

Thanks for the kind words, Susan. It's been a while. I miss you.

April 29, 2011 | Registered Commenter[chuck]

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