Gulp air, snorkel roots.
Mud will choke you, salt will burn
Life clings in tangles
Mangrove trees (genus Rhizophora) have taken to a very harsh environment, the intertidal zone. It’s hard for any organism, particularly those who evolved back from land to sea, to survive the dessicating effect of salt water. Couple that with the anoxic mud and unstable water conditions of the tropical coastline and you can appreciate why so few plant species can survive. Mangroves are fundamental in creating high biodiversity and sheltering habitat which allows many tropical regions to thrive. Their prop roots provide shelter and physical dimension to what would otherwise be a mudflat, creating nursery habitat, sheltered areas, support for epiphytes, protecting nearby land from erosion and storm damage and so on. Sadly, mangroves are increasingly threatened worldwide. Habitat destruction for property development and for shrimp farming (most shrimp in the US is important from horrendously unsustainable “farms”) threatens thousands of animals and plants that keep the water clean and the shoreline from eroding away.