Scale model showing how mangrove forests protect the coast from wave erosion. This is a huge deal, because mangrove forests worldwide are under serious threat. Beside providing habitat and supporting unique ecosystems themselves, they also protect the a large amount of coastal areas from coastal erosion, a serious threat in many coastal areas.
To show our appreciation for estuaries this last day of NationalEstuaries Week here are some beautiful photos from around the United States.
Estuaries are incredibly important ecosystems that include diverse landscapes like muddy marshes, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, oyster reefs, rocky tidal pools, sandy beaches—pretty much anywhere that fresh water from rivers meets the salty ocean tides. They serve as habitat nurseries for young fish and birds, absorb and store large amounts of carbon, and help protect coastlines during powerful storms (to name just a few of their many functions). We truly owe a lot to these diverse and beautiful places.
Photo Credit: Top- NOAA; Middle- flickr user jere7my tho?rpe, Mary Hollinger, NESDIS/NODC biologist, NOAA; Bottom- NOAA
Rain Forest Eeveelutions (Open Species, please link back to this post somewhere and give credit. I’d love to see what people do with them!)
A population of the Eevee line that developed and evolved in heavy rain forest areas. They’re smaller in size and harder to tame in captivity, making them unsuitable companion Pokemon for inexperienced trainers. Hunted for their fur, they were once considered a Vulnerable Species but are now listed as Least Concern. (Heavily based on Ocelots and various animals)
I recently spent some time on the Belize barrier reef, and they have a lot of small islands out there (called cayes) that have been part of the natural landscape for ages, anchoring the coast, filtering incoming pollution and providing a nursery for most young marine species in the area. back in theday a lot of theses cayes were dominated by mangrove forest; these forests anchor the coast, filter sediment and pollution, and serve as a nursery for a whole lot of the native marine species (including most of the commercially important ones). As people have moved out there and the value of those islands as property for locals and tourist sites have gone up, a lot of the mangroves have been removed to make way for developement, as well as to curb the populations of biting insects they foster.
I visited one such caye, Carrie Bow Caye, the site of the Smithsonian’s Central American marine research station. The mangroves native to the island had already been removed by the time the institution set up base there, around 45 years ago. In the time that the Smithsonian has been there, the island has shrunk to about a third of its original size or less, completely unable to protect its beaches from storm erosion.
They have tried to replant mangroves on the island repeatedly over the near half-century that the station has been there. The ones we saw that they had out now were over eight years old.
They were barely a foot tall, and likely werent going to make it much longer.
We have, a lot of the time when it comes to conservation, this idea that ‘restoration’ is tantamount, but there are things in nature that can and will not be restoreable ifthey are allowed to dissapear. Without the shelter and nutrients provided by already healthy mangroves, a coast is too cruel a place for new shoots to grow.
It terrifies me to think about what other things we may realize too late we cant just fix back up later, if we dont stop thinking in terms of “we can rebuild it” and start thinking in terms of urgent prevention and integration.
The Zapata peninsula contains the largest and most important wetlands in the Caribbean. Covering 1.5 million acres (6,000 square km), the immense Zapata Biosphere Reserve includes marshes, peat bogs, mangroves, coral reefs, and forests that support a complex web of life, including frogs, turtles, fish, shellfish, crocodiles, birds, and countless plants and insects, making its conservation a top priority for the entire region. Learn more about Cuba’s biodiversity.
A female kangaroo lies dead after she was hit by a car while moving to higher ground away from floodwaters in Rockhampton, Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Flood waters are expected to hit levels not seen in 60 years. Climate change is intensifying extreme weather events such as these as well as making them hit more frequently. Such events, as well as other climate impacts, are forcing animals to move around the world, often resulting in population decline and local extinction. Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP
Climate change is rapidly becoming a crisis that defies hyperbole.
For all the sound and fury of climate change denialists, self-deluding politicians and a very bewildered global public, the science behind climate change is rock solid while the impacts – observed on every ecosystem on the planet – are occurring faster in many parts of the world than even the most gloomy scientists predicted.
Given all this, it’s logical to assume life on Earth – the millions of species that cohabitate our little ball of rock in space – would be impacted. But it still feels unnerving to discover that this is no longer about just polar bears; it’s not only coral reefs and sea turtles or pikas and penguins; it about practically everything – including us.
Three recent studies have illustrated just how widespread climate change’s effect on life on our planet has already become.
More than half of the world’s humans today live in cities – but that won’t make any of us immune to the changes going on in nature. According to Scheffer’s research, humans will see a drop in productivity of various crops or timber species, a drastic loss in marine fisheries, a potential rise in new diseases as well as disease spreading to places they’d never been before. Meanwhile, declines in coral reefs, kelp forests and mangroves could lead to more lives lost in climate-fueled storms. Loss of global biodiversity will also have knock-on effects in societies around the world, from less productive ecosystems to impacts we simply can’t predict today.
the third largest cat in south america, after the jaguar and puma. theyre listed as least concern by the iucn and one of the most populous with one of the largest habitat ranges of all the wild cats in the americas. theyre highly arboreal!! but they spend most of their time on the ground but even so they also spend a lot of time in the water. they live in all kinds of different habitats like rain forests, mangroves, grasslands, swamps, etc. and can be found up to 3,000+ meters, so theyre a really versatile and adaptable species!!!
they can even be seen living really close to cattle farms and places where palm oil is harvested. they’re primarily in south america, but can be found as far north as arizona and texas so there are some populations in the us!! theyre really truly seriously honestly one of the most successful cats in the americas due to their adaptability tbh
“Mangroves are shrubs or small trees that grow in coastal saline or brackish water. The term is also used for tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species. Mangroves occur worldwide in the tropics and subtropics, mainly between latitudes 25° N and 25° S. In the year 2000, the area of mangroves was 53,190 square miles (137,760 km²), spanning 118 countries and territories.
Mangroves are salt tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to life in harsh coastal conditions. They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action. They are adapted to the low oxygen (anoxic) conditions of waterlogged mud.
The word is used in at least three senses: (1) most broadly to refer to the habitat and entire plant assemblage or mangal, for which the terms mangrove forest biome, mangrove swamp and mangrove forest are also used, (2) to refer to all trees and large shrubs in the mangrove swamp, and (3) narrowly to refer to the mangrove family of plants, the Rhizophoraceae, or even more specifically just to mangrove trees of the genus Rhizophora.
The mangrove biome, or mangal, is a distinct saline woodland or shrubland habitat characterized by depositional coastal environments, where fine sediments (often with high organic content) collect in areas protected from high-energy wave action. The saline conditions tolerated by various mangrove species range from brackish water, through pure seawater (30 to 40 ppt [parts per thousand]), to water concentrated by evaporation to over twice the salinity of ocean seawater (up to 90 ppt).”
A natural-colour image of the Sundarbans in
Bangladesh, the world’s largest single chunk of tidal halophytic mangrove forest, and
an image of the Orion Nebula star-formation region are two of our Space Photos
of the Week.