hdr_home (36K)
  HOME COLLECTION EDUCATION IMAGE GALLERY SOUTH FLORIDA ORGANIZATIONS MEETINGS STAFF
  SHARK FRESHWATER
RESEARCH
BIOLOGICAL
PROFILES
JUST FOR KIDS SITE LINKS FLMNH

South Florida Aquatic Environments

Mangroves



IMPORTANCE OF MANGROVES
Mangroves Stabilize Shorelines
© Cathleen Bester


Mangroves:

Shoreline Protection

  • Mangroves protect shorelines from erosion
Mangroves protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems. They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land.

Schooling Tarpon
© Don DeMaria

Schooling Tarpon

Nursery

  • Mangroves serve as valuable nursery areas for fish and invertebrates
Serving as valuable nursery areas for shrimp, crustaceans, mollusks, and fishes, mangroves are a critical component of Florida's commercial and recreational fishing industries. These habitats provide a rich source of food while also offering refuge from predation. Snook (Centropomus undecimalis), gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus), tarpon (Megalops atlanticus), jack (Caranx spp.), sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) all feed in the mangroves. Florida's fisheries would suffer a dramatic decline without access to healthy mangrove habitats.

Brown Pelican Swallowing a Fish
courtesy South Florida Water Management District

Brown Pelican Swallowing a Fish

Threatened and Endangered Species

  • Mangroves Support Threatened and Endangered Species
In addition to commercially important species, mangroves also support a number of threatened and endangered species.

Threatened species include:
Endangered species include:

These species utilize mangrove systems during at least some portion of their life histories, while others reside their entire life spans, feeding and nesting within the mangroves.

Atlantic Saltmarsh Snake
courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Atlantic Saltmarsh Snake

American Crocodile
© Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences

American Crocodile

Renewable Resource

  • Mangroves are utilized in many parts of the world as a renewable resource
In other parts of the world, people have utilized mangrove trees as a renewable resource. Harvested for durable, water-resistant wood, mangroves have been used in building houses, boats, pilings, and furniture. The wood of the black mangrove and buttonwood trees has also been utilized in the production of charcoal. Tannins and other dyes are extracted from mangrove bark. Leaves have been used in tea, medicine, livestock feed, and as a substitute for tobacco for smoking. In Florida, beekeepers have set up their hives close to mangroves in order to use the nectar in honey production.

Honey Bee
© Dr. Antonio J. Ferreira, California Academy of Sciences

Honey Bee