Essay Mangrove Swamps

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Introduction 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…show more content…
The parent material for mangrove swamps is very similar to that of any coastal wetland. This is because mangrove swamps occupy the terrestrial edge between estuary wetland and marine waters. The soils are sandy with areas of heavy peat deposits created by copious amounts of plant litter. Mangrove swamps cannot form along cliffs because the mangrove tree species only grow on low gradient slopes (“Tour of mangrove,” 2008). The red mangrove species produce the peat deposits characteristic of the mangrove swamps. The peat is acidic and is capable of dissolving the limestone found underneath (“Ecology,” 2010).
Mangrove swamps are named after their dominant vegetation. The mangrove swamp is divided into three zones: the proximal zone, the middle zone, and the distal zone. The proximal zone (also known as the red mangroves) is closest to the waterfront. This area is subject to the effect of the tides. The main plant species found in this zone include Rhizophora apiculata and Rhizophora mucronata. These plants have adapted to the waters edge by forming long aerial prop roots that attach the plant to an otherwise loose sediment bed (“Tour of mangrove,” 2008). These waterfront plants are highly adapted for absorbing seawater and securing nutrients from the peat. These mangrove tree species force positively-charged magnesium ions into their roots which repels the positively-charged sodium ions in the sea water, but the plant
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