An under-appreciated ecosystem I personally like a lot are the mangroves. Mangroves are trees at the edge of the ocean, with their roots in the intertidal zone. This means that their roots are soaked in – yes! – salt water. To make matters worse, the mud these roots are stuck in is anaerobic (does not contain much oxygen, if any). It’s hence not easy being a mangrove tree, try putting your room plants into anaerobic mud and watering them with salt water! The result will be a pretty swift room-plant demise. For the mangroves tree it takes energy to get rid of the salt,so they only occur in tropical/subtropical and warm-temperate to gather enough energy for the salt removal. In the southern hemisphere, the North Island of New Zealand is the coldest place mangroves live.
To absorb enough oxygen the mangroves stick out these striking air roots you can see everywhere in between the trees in a mangrove forest.
Almost like underwater during a muck dive does the mud in-between the mangroves reveal small gems of nature to the slow-moving skilled observer. You just need to walk slowly, and scan the ground for mudskippers, crabs and worms. A mangrove walk will leave you muddy, but inspired by yet another interesting coastal ecosystem.
Here are some of my recent mangrove-pictures: