Mangroves are flowering trees that live in saltwater or brackish water in mudflats near shorelines. Red Mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) are the most distinctive, with their complex ariel prop roots. These root systems, when submerged, support a diverse community of sponges, ascidians, algae, corals and crabs. They provide crucial habitat for juvenile reef and pelagic fish as well as lobsters. The roots also trap sediment and associated pollutants to improve offshore water quality and slowly build more land. The trees also provide roosts, nesting habitat, and feeding areas for many bird species.
White and black mangroves (Laguncularia racemosa and Avicennia germinans) grow in the sand soil and sediment upland from the red mangroves. They are often found in salt ponds.
Visitors can find good examples of mangroves in Hurricane Hole and Mary Creek.
The mangroves in Hurricane Hole host a unique array of corals. Click on the picture to read about the new discoveries and investigations of this remarkably diverse ecosystem.