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Tropical Mangroves; Biologically Most Diverse 'The Global 200' Ecosystem: Megachiroptera as Key Ecological and Conservation Tool
E-Newsletter (Issue 315) of Mangrove Action Project (MAP), Washington, USA (2013)
  • Mohammed Ashraf
  • Nour Habjoka
Abstract
Mangrove forests are comprised of unique plant species that form the critical interface between terrestrial, estuarine, and near-shore marine ecosystems in tropical and subtropical regions. The term mangrove is generally used to describe the assemblage of trees and shrubs that grow in saline coastal habitats, normally found in the tropics and sub-tropics. Mangrove plants are not land builders but once established, play a key role in stabilization of newly accreted sediment. Mangrove tree species have developed a wide range of features, including specialized stomatal, leaf, seed, and root structures, as adaptations for living in a saline environment with high incidence of inundation. Most mangrove species are viviparous; seeds germinate while still attached to the tree. Buoyant seeds develop into mature propagules, which then drop and disperse by water. Of note is the diversity in root structures of the mangrove tree species, designed to facilitate anchorage, nutrient uptake, and gaseous exchange. Some species, such as Heritiera fomes, Sonneratia apetala, and Avicennia officinalis, have pneumataphores; upward projecting root branches that enable the gaseous exchange required for respiratory metabolism. Other species, such as Rhizophora mucronata, have “stilt” or “knee” roots for gaseous exchange, while additional features such as the “tap” roots (buttresses) of Heritiera fomes and the horizontal spread of roots in general, add to overall stability. Some plants also excrete excess salt through leaves.

Keywords
  • Megachiroptera,
  • Mangroves,
  • Ecological Tool,
  • Keystone Vertebrate,
  • Sundarbans,
  • Mangrove Action Project,
  • Ecology,
  • Biodiversity,
  • Wetland,
  • Conservation Biology,
  • Wildllife Science
Publication Date
Spring 2013
Citation Information
Mohammed Ashraf and Nour Habjoka. "Tropical Mangroves; Biologically Most Diverse 'The Global 200' Ecosystem: Megachiroptera as Key Ecological and Conservation Tool" E-Newsletter (Issue 315) of Mangrove Action Project (MAP), Washington, USA (2013)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/biocentrism/16/