Mangrove Ecosystem

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Mangrove Ecosystem


ProducersMangroves are the producers of their own ecosystem. Many organisms feed on the detritus created from leaves falling off and decomposing. There are also phytoplankton that float on the surface of the water and algae growing on the mangroves' roots.Primary ConsumersThe primary consumers of mangroves are usually the decomposers (e.g. the mangrove tree crab). Small fish, crabs, clams, and shrimp feed off of the detritus. Very few organisms feed directly off of the mangroves (e.g. coffee bean snail). Secondary ConsumersLarger predatory fish, turtles, and crabs feed on the primary consumers.Tertiary ConsumersTertiary consumers include birds (e.g. herons and ospreys), eels, salt water crocidiles, tigers, and humans.

Map of Mangrove Ecosystems

Link to a Science Article’s-coast

Link to a Website About the Marine Ecosystem

Threats to Ecosystem-Shrimp farming: Shrimp aquaculture is expanding rapidly and to keep up with the high demand, farmers are clearing millions of mangroves to create artificial shrimp ponds.-Coastal development: More tourist development is occurring on the coast to attract more people. Many companies have cut down mangroves to build hotels.-Overfishing: Overfishing can cause populations to fluctuate and throws the food chain off-balance.-Pollution: Runoff from agriculture (fertilizers, pesticides) can kill the organisms living in the mangroves. Oil pollution can suffocate the trees by smothering their roots.-Coral reef destruction: Strong currents and winds hit the mangroves after coral reefs. As coral reefs are being destroyed more and more, it provides less protection for the mangroves. This can cause uprooting, the washing away of nutrients, and the prevention of seedlings from taking root.-Climate change: As global warming takes place, sea levels rise. It's difficult for the mangroves to keep up with the pace of changing sea levels

Limiting Factors-Temperature: Mangroves must be grown in warm temperatures to prosper. In cold temperatures, they cannot survive.-Light: Mangroves compete for light, as they have a restricted area of growth.-Water levels: Mangroves are limited to the intertidal zone with less competition from freshwater plants.-Predation: Insects can defoliate the mangroves, causing them to die. Crabs also prey on the propagules.-Disease: Foliar diseases can occur when fungi colonizes and defoliates the mangrove causing mortality.

Abiotic Factors-Temperature: Mangroves typically grow in areas where the temperature does not drop below 19°C (66°F). -Oxygen: Just like other plants, mangroves need oxygen to survive. Pneumatophores are vertical roots that allow the mangroves to receive the oxygen they need by sticking out of the water (Black mangroves). Prop roots are roots that grow from and help support the stem, and allow gas exchange (Red mangroves).-Salinity: Mangroves have adapted to live in salt water in many ways. Some secrete salt through their leaves, while others have pores on their roots large enough to allow water to pass through, but not salt. Some can also store salt ions in leaf cells.-Nutrients: Mangroves take up nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen to grow properly and healthily. If there are not enough nutrients, mangroves can grow more roots to increase their uptake. They can also grow new roots through decaying roots, so the nutrients are not lost.

Keystone SpeciesThe keystone species of mangrove ecosystems are, of course, the mangroves! Without the mangroves, there would be no roots for the shelter of fish and other organisms, no food source, no place for birds to nest, and no way to hold down the sediments.

Endangered Species-Mangrove Finch (critically endangered)-Illidge’s Ant Blue Butterfly (vulnerable)-American Crocodile (vulnerable)-Red Colobus (endangered)-Bengal Tiger (endangered)-Hawksbill Turtle (critically endangered)-Four-Toed Terrapin (critically endangered)-Fin-joined Goby (critically endangered)-Pelliciera rhizophorae(critically endangered)

Geographic FeaturesMangroves are generally found between 25° north and 25° south. They can only grow in tropical/subtropical areas. Mangroves line the coasts of Florida, the Mediterranean Sea, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Australia, and Nigeria (to name just a few). There are over 60 species of mangroves worldwide, but only 3 inhabit Florida: Red mangroves, Black mangroves, and White Mangroves.

Economic Impacts-Mangroves allow fishing. If they are removed, there will be no fish to catch and sell.-Mangroves provide storm protection, reducing the money spent on coastal damage.-Mangroves are used for firewood and the construction of boats and furniture.-Mangrove bark has been used as a dye and to preserve leather.-Pneumatophores have been used in perfumes, fishing floats, and corks.-Species such as the Red mangrove are used in cosmetics and soap.-Many species are used as a food and drink source (fruits, leaves, seeds).


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