For those who are not familiar, mangroves are simply an ecosystem or a habitat comprising mostly of trees that exists within the coastal zones where sediment usually containing organic content gets collected. They are simply swamps and wetlands that are saline in nature.
Many fish and other sea creatures consider mangroves as their breeding place. They are also home to several species. From bacteria to fish to tigers, mangroves serve as a habitat for many creatures. Apart from this, the mangroves are an important part of the food web at all levels and a clean and fresh source of water. In addition, they’re also known to protect the coats from natural calamities.
The Biodiverse Nature of the Mangroves
Mangrove Forests aren’t like all other ordinary forests because the mangroves protect our land from eroding and are home to many birds and other animals. Since mangroves are not very diverse and have a very peculiar shape, many scientists believed that it was home to only a limited number of species. Some of the most popular and common microbes and bacteria found in mangroves are discussed below:
Algae in mangroves occur in many different forms such as planktonic, periphytic. Etc. Mangroves around the world are considered to inhabit more than 50% of the algae species. In addition, there are many algae in the world that are specific to only mangroves and don’t exist elsewhere.
Mangroves around the world are often considered to be fungi hotspots. The upper part of the mangrove tree is where fungi reside, and the lower part is occupied by other species.
Mangroves are considered to be one of the greatest habitats for Actinomycetes. Many scientists believe that mangroves have a large amount of unexplored and undiscovered Actinomycetes in them.
4. N2 fixing bacteria
Due to the presence of many dead leaves and other decomposing species in the mangroves, many nitrogen compounds react with ammonia to form N2 fixing bacteria.
Recent research and studies have proven otherwise. A group of scientists belonging to different countries came together and researched approximately 140,000 specimens that different mangrove forests hosted. As a result, they found an unbelievable number of insect species that resided in these mangroves. Thus, the study concluded that the mangrove is a magnet for biodiversity when it comes to insects and many other species.
Mangrove Specific Species
After a more detailed survey, the scientists discovered an even more interesting revelation that a large amount of these species can only be found in mangroves and not other forests. In addition, many of these species in the world are specific to mangroves only. Scientists attribute this to mangroves’ extremely harsh and evolving conditions that make these species highly adaptable to frequently changing living conditions. Thus, making many species rare and unique.
The distinct and diverse nature of these unique and diverse species around the world has made it hard for scientists to name them. Before the advent of technology, scientists would examine each of these species individually and independently.
This process wasn’t just extremely monotonous and boring but also very time-consuming. However, now, scientists utilize genetic technology to consume lesser time to count and separate or classify these species which doesn’t just save time but is also very accurate. They simply classify the DNA of many different species in a very time and cost-efficient way.
The phenomenon of a large number of species in a biome having similar features and performing similar functions is called ecological redundancy. This ecological redundancy exists largely in mangrove forests. However, this redundancy is very weak and can be disturbed, or in extreme cases obliterated, by even a minute degree of disruption. This is why many researchers claim that a mangrove ecosystem is one of the most vulnerable and sensitive ecosystems out there.
Final Thoughts: Mangroves in danger
According to research one out of every six mangrove forests is facing some kind of danger or is on the verge of extinction. This danger has been attributed to the incessant change and also other factors such as coastal logging. In 2010, 16% of the species inhabited in the mangrove forests were on the IUCN Red List due to the threat mangrove forests were exposed to. Immediate measures all around the world must be taken place before more damage is done to mangroves and the species that they inhabit.