Mangrove swamps are a type of coastal wetland found on five out of seven continents between the latitudes 30ºN and 30ºS. Mangrove swamps are rich communities of both vegetative and animal species. The swamps are unique in the fact that they are a highly vegetated area found on the edge of marine coasts. The major vegetation in this area has adapted to absorb its water from the sea, and its oxygen from the air as opposed to the soil. This environment serves as home to many animal species, and home and nursery to many aquatic species. Because this type of ecosystem requires such a unique environment, it is often in danger of disappearing. These communities are not only threatened by human development, but also by global warming and natural occurrences such as invasive species. These ecosystems are not only important because of their species diversity, but also because they serve as buffers between the land and sea. Discussion
The majority of mangrove forests are found within 30 degrees of the equator in both the northern and southern hemispheres and appear on every continent except for Europe and Antarctica. This means that they are located mostly in tropic climates though some have been recorded in more temperate regions (Warne, 2007). Climate has a large effect on the growth of mangroves because it determines the amount of available radiation and warmer temperatures. Precipitation in the richer mangrove forest is usually greater than 1250 mm (49.2 inches) per year (“Mangrove ecology,” 2010). Historically, it is believed that the earliest mangrove swamps emanate from the Indonesian/Malaysian region. This theory is believed to be true because this region is where these swamps are most frequently found (Lauri, & Gibson, 2000). The mangrove ecosystem evolved around 114 million years ago (“History/evolution of mangroves,” 2010) and spread through the unique floating propagules (buds) of the major mangrove species (Lauri, & Gibson, 2000). Ocean...
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