Salt Marshes & Mangrove Forests
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Salt marshes are located near estuaries and sounds. They can be found on the coasts of many continents, including North America. There are salt marshes on North Carolina's east coast.
Mangrove forests are located in the inter-tidal zone in most tropical coastlines and estuaries. They lie between the latitudes of 32*N and 38*S.
Fun Facts: South Carolina has the largest area of marsh lands out of all of the states on the Atlantic Coast.
This mangrove patch shows the intertwined root system.
A Mangrove Patch
Mangrove forests are safe-havens for aquatic life.
It's A Safe-haven
The root systems are extremely proficient at filtering out salt water.
Salt marshes contain flat sandy areas with tall grasses. Brackish water typically surrounds these grassy patches.
Humidity and tropical/ warm weather can be found in this ecosystem.
East Coast Living
Recreational activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, and crabbing are often done near salt marshes.
Abiotic Factors are all of the NON-LIVING things in an environment
Biotic Factors are all of the LIVING things in an environment.
Abiotic factors in Salt Marshes & Mangrove Forests:
Plants absorb energy from the sun. The sun is the start of the energy transfer cycle.
Sand is a non-living component in a salt marsh and mangrove forest ecosystem.
Mangrove forests and salt marshes depend on water in order to function.
Mangroves like to latch onto rocks for support.
The weather and the climate are factors that determine a biome.
Many organisms react with the salt water that is in both of these aquatic ecosystems.
Producers are organisms (plants) that generate energy through the process of photosynthesis. They also serve as food for other organisms and are at the bottom of a food pyramid. Mangrove trees, algae, Saw grass, Cattails, Chord grass, some plankton and Black Needlerush are all producers in a Salt marsh and Mangrove forest ecosystem.
Consumers are organisms that receive energy by eating (consuming) other organisms. Consumers can eat plants, animals, or a combination of both. Manatees, sea turtles,mummichogs, fisher cats, fish, monitor lizards, and aligators are all consumers in these two ecosystems.
Decomposers are organisms that break down dead and decaying matter/organisms. They also return nutrients back to the ecosystem. Bacteria, worms, shrimp, fungi, and microorganisms help break down excess dead and decaying matter in a salt marsh.
Some invertebrates are decomposers!
Coexistence: when two or more species live in harmony with each other (they typically do not share a niche, habitat, or consume the same food although it is possible)
Manatees and Sea turtles live in coexistence.
Cooperation: when a group of organisms work or act together for a common benefit.
Some species of shrimp and fish will protect each other. The shrimp will build a burrow in the sand for both the fish and the shrimp to live in, while the fish warns the shrimp and acts as a security guard.
Competition: when one species keeps resources away from another species or when a species depletes resources before other organisms have a chance to use them.
Vines can plant themselves on or near mangroves. They use up the nutrients that the mangroves would use and end up depleting the nutrients from the area that the mangrove is in.
Parasitism: a relationship where one organism lives off of the other organism (most often causing harm.
Ectoparasites are often crustaceans in the order Isopoda or Copepoda. Isopods have adapted strong suckers, flat bodies, and sharp jaws used to attach to their host. They tend to molt in stages so that they remain latched on to the host. Some isopods will attach to the fish and cause no harm. In this case they eat particles of food that float by rather than feed on the host directly.
Mutualism: a symbiotic relationship where both species benefit.
"Some anemones share a mutualistic relationship with Boxer crabs."
Biotic factors in salt marshes and mangrove forests
Hundreds of species of birds migrate to Mangrove ecosystems and salt marshes to rest and mate.
Fisher cats are seen in Mangrove forests. Obviously, they hunt for fish.
Sea cows can be found in tropical salt marshes and mangrove forests. Currently they are an endangered species.
Birds prey on crabs and other crustaceans.
Microorganisms are crucial to the success of a salt marsh ecosystem.
Shrimp filter through the sand in both Mangrove forests and salt marshes.
Fun fact: Theoretically you could drink the water from Mangrove roots even if the water surrounding it has an extremely high salt content. Mangroves have adapted to purify the water that they take in through their roots.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8-E6cDCr5U (youtube video 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhR1IEbEops (youtube video 2)