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Mangroves and sea grasses in Florida - Research Paper Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Mangrove and Sea Grasses in Florida Sea grass and Mangrove beds are linked together by water masses, which move in and out with the tide, and by animal organisms that move in these habitats. Current and tides transport nutrients from the mangroves to the grasslands…
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Mangroves and sea grasses in Florida
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Download file to see previous pages They usually form mangrove forest that is often inundated by tidal salt twice a day. Sea grasses are grass-like flowering plants that are totally submerged in estuarine and marine waters. These habitats occur throughout the coastal areas of Florida, however, most are found in Florida Bay, and the region between Tarpon Springs northward to Apalachee Bay. Types of Mangroves in Florida There are three species of Mangroves found along the coastal region of Florida: black mangrove, white mangrove, and red mangrove. Black mangroves survive in slightly higher elevations than red mangroves, while white mangrove grows upland more than black and red mangroves. Red mangrove grows along the water edge (Saenger 289). Red mangrove is identified by its branching and arching drop roots from branches, prop roots from trunk. Black mangrove is identified by its pencil-like roots that grow up through the soil. The white mangrove is identified by its more rounded leaves than the leaves of black and red mangrove (Saenger 289). Importance of Mangrove in the Ecosystem Mangrove ecosystems are essential habitat for fish production. They provide breeding and feeding grounds for shell fishes and many fishes. Besides fish, it also supports a variety of wildlife such as crocodile, snakes, birds, deer, insects and fishing cats (Saenger 289). The mangrove forests also protect the coast from floods, fury of cyclone, coastal erosion, UV-B radiation, wave actions and sea level rise. Mangroves act as sinks for nutrients, and traps for sediments (Saenger 289). How do Mangroves Reproduce? Mangroves are flowering and seed-producing plants. Their seeds are larger as compared to other seeds produced by other trees and plants, and they usually begin germinating while still attached to the main plant. When the seeds drop from the tree, they float on water for a short period, and then they sink to the bottom (Gleason 21). They float for a short period while being dispersed to areas where they can grow: they can only grow in tidal water. The rate of growth depends on mineral availability and climate. Health of Ecosystem Occupied by Mangrove These ecosystems are free from the deleterious impacts of UV-radiation. Mangrove trees produce flavonoids, which serve as UV-screen compounds. Shores and coastlines with mangrove forest are protected from cyclones with tremendous speed that severely disturbs and destroys coastal ecosystem. This makes it a potent nursery and breeding ground for many fishes and other wildlife (Gleason 21). The mangrove roots prevent erosion of the coast, and attract suspended sediments making these regions fertile grounds for cultivation. They also support the growth of planktons, which is a source of fish food (Gleason 22). How Mangrove deals with Salt in the Water Mangroves eliminate salt at the root level, and mangrove trees can tolerate high salt levels in their tissues more than normal plants. Most of the salts are eliminated at the root level through Ultra filtration process. Any salt that passes through the roots is stored in old and dry leaves, which are later shed (Gleason 42). A few mangroves can tolerate high salt levels in their tissues, and the excess salt is eliminated through specialized cells in their leaves. For example, Avecennia is the only tree that survives in hot and salty regions. Florida Laws that Protect Mangroves The Florida Legislature passed the Mangrove Trimming and Prevention Act to protect mangrove forests. The act ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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