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Tropical Climate

Mangroves are tropical species.

Mangroves thrive in tropical climates. Photo courtesy National Park Service
Mangroves thrive in tropical climates. Photo courtesy National Park Service

Mangroves are tropical species, surviving at temperatures above 66° F (19° C), not tolerating fluctuations exceeding 18° F (10° C) or temperatures below freezing for any length of time.

Salinity Levels

Adaptations make it possible for mangroves to live in saline environments.

As halophytes, mangroves are able to live in freshwater and saltwater environments. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
As halophytes, mangroves are able to live in freshwater and saltwater environments. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

As facultative halophytes, mangroves do not require saltwater to survive. Most mangroves are capable of growing in freshwater habitats, although most do not due to competition from other plants.

Tidal Fluctuations

Tides bring in nutrients and remove wastes from mangrove communities.

Nutrients are transported into mangrove communities by tides. Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey
Nutrients are transported into mangrove communities by tides. Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

Tidal fluctuations play important roles in maintaining mangrove communities. The changing tides, in combination with salinity levels, reduces competition from other plant species. Tides transport salt water into estuaries, mixing with freshwater, thereby allowing mangroves to develop further inland than otherwise possible. Nutrients are transported into mangroves by incoming tides while waste products are removed by outgoing tides. Also of importance is the role tides play in transporting the propagules (seedlings) of mangrove trees. This increases the distribution of the mangrove trees, while limiting intraspecific (within species) competition for food and space.

Split-view of mangrove habitat. Photo © Don DeMaria
Split-view of mangrove habitat. Photo © Don DeMaria

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