mangrove ecosystems

Topics: Mangrove, Biodiversity, Wetland Pages: 4 (1433 words) Published: April 22, 2014
Flora and Fauna: Of the recognized 110 species which live in mangroves, only about 54 species (in 20 genera from 16 families) make up the group of species that occur almost exclusively in mangrove habitats. Many of these species are found in the similar conditions to the tropical conditions of a wide range of salinity, tidal range, anaerobic soils and high light intensity. Plant biodiversity is relatively low in mangrove ecosystems, especia lly in higher altitudes and the Americas. The mangroves with the highest biodiversity are locat ed in the mangroves of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Mangroves vary in height from shrubs to giant 40 metre trees and have adapted to live in considerably harsh conditions. Many of the plants have adapted prop roots which are essential to their stability in the waterlogged soil. Pneumatophores are erect roots which rise up from the soil breathing in oxygen and air using lenticels pores which allow the diffusion of oxygen. A great example of the types of flora and fauna that habituate in mangrove ecosystems can be observed in the Galapagos Islands where they have evolved so extensively in isolation that they now appear very different from their mainland ancestors. There are 560 native species of plants in the islands with 180 of them being endemic to the islands. For example, Galapagos has its very own, endemic species of cotton, pepper, guava, passion flower and tomato with some of them being grouped in their own endemic genera. Plants are also adapted to having very few insects or other animals to pollinate their flowers or disperse their fruits and seeds. The Islands have a wide array of endemic fauna, invertebrates, birds, reptiles and a few mammals native to the islands rather than introduced, for example the Galapagos tortoise and many species of...
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