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South Florida Aquatic Environments

Mangroves



HABITAT REQUIREMENTS
Split-view of Mangrove Habitat
© Don DeMaria
Split-view of Mangrove Habitat


Mangrove habitat requirements:

Tropical Climate

Mangroves thrive in tropical climates
courtesy National Park Service


  • Mangroves are tropical species
Mangroves are tropical species, surviving at temperatures above 66° F (19° C), not tolerating fluctuations exceeding 18° F (10° C) or temperatures below freezing for any length of time.

Salinity Levels

As halophytes, mangroves are able to live in freshwater and saltwater environments
courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


  • Adaptations make it possible for mangroves to live in saline environments
As facultative halophytes, mangroves do not require saltwater to survive. Most mangroves are capable of growing in freshwater habitats, although most do not due to competition from other plants.

Tidal Fluctuations

Nutrients are tranported into mangrove communities by tides
courtesy U.S. Geological Survey


  • Tides bring in nutrients and remove wastes from mangrove communities
Tidal fluctuations play important roles in maintaining mangrove communities. The changing tides, in combination with salinity levels, reduces competition from other plant species. Tides transport salt water into estuaries, mixing with freshwater, thereby allowing mangroves to develop further inland than otherwise possible. Nutrients are transported into mangroves by incoming tides while waste products are removed by outgoing tides. Also of importance is the role tides play in transporting the propagules (seedlings) of mangrove trees. This increases the distribution of the mangrove trees, while limiting intraspecific (within species) competition for food and space.