Mangrove Fringe 360

If you look at South Florida from above, the coast is fringed with…houses and hotels. But go back in time and you would have seen dense forests of mangroves. The coastal Everglades is still loaded with mangroves, which is a really good thing.

Watch the video, use the field guide and take the quiz to identify three things you might encounter in an Everglades mangrove forest. Good luck!

Tag #1: Identify the plant, animal or feature

Tag #2: Identify the plant, animal or feature

Tag #3: Identify the plant, animal or feature

The word “mangrove” basically describes a group of salt-tolerant shrubs or trees that live in coastal or intertidal areas. There are about 80 species around the world, all living in tropical or subtropical climates, and they aren’t necessarily closely related. South Florida has 4 species of mangrove trees.

Everglades National Park holds the largest contiguous forest of mangrove trees on this half of the planet, which is pretty mind-blowing. World-wide, coastal mangroves are being cut down to make room for human development, which is a shame. Above the water, these trees are critical habitat for nesting birds, reptiles, all sorts of creatures. Below the water, mangrove roots become essential nursery grounds for many species of fish and provide scaffolding for barnacles, sea anemones, sponges and other colorful invertebrates.

The word mangrove refers to a group of coastal trees or shrubs that are adapted to survive in wet, salty environments. In Florida we have 4 species, but they’re not all closely related.

Mangroves are super important, for many of the same ways that seagrasses are. They provide habitat for animals, create oxygen and suck carbon dioxide from the air, and act as a buffer zone that slows down the effects of tropical storms.

Hop in a kayak and follow me through the mangrove fringe. Look out for three things to identify, indicated by this symbol and this sound. Then use the field guide to identify those three things. Good luck!


The Florida Scrub Jay

Gopher Tortoise: Ecosystem Engineer