Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mangrove Nurseries

Some of the islands we’ve visited have tidal lagoons in their interiors that serve as mangrove nurseries. We explored the one on Conception Island with our dinghy. Relatively deep (3-4 feet) channels wound around brilliantly white sand flats that were dry at low water and dotted with small mangroves. In the picture above you can see a progression of mangrove growth from right to left, starting with tiny new mangroves, just a single stalk with a couple of leaves on top, and ending with larger plants with multiple branches and well-developed root systems. There also were stands of mature mangroves in the deeper water, like this beauty to the right. Just in front of the tree was a miniature blue hole, about fifty feet across and thirty feet deep, quite a difference from the otherwise shallow water here. Not only was this whole area a nursery for mangroves, but the mangroves themselves constitute nurseries for fish, which you can see swimming around the mangrove roots in the picture to the left.

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