Mangrove lagoons in Puerto Rico

Mangroves line the shorelines of Puerto Rico and its many island keys, where ever the wave action is limited.  The most noticeable are the red mangroves that grow from the shore into the salt water, supported by a tangle of prop roots.

Red Mangroves

The roots not only support the plants but catch debris, leaves, and sediment floating by which supports a community of organisms that feed on it.  This  is further enriched by droppings of the birds that roost in the mangrove branches at night.

While the mangrove forest above the water supports a terrestrial community of life,  the maze of roots below the water line offer protection for small fish and invertebrates that make up the underwater community.

While the mangrove forest above the water supports a terrestrial community of life, the maze of roots below the water line offer protection for small fish and invertebrates that make up the underwater community.

Red Mangroves are so dense you could never walk through them, but they make intriguing waterways for kayaking.

Red Mangroves grow together in such density that you could never walk through them, but they make intriguing island waterways for kayaking.

kayaking in mangrovesIt was a quiet on this particular day in the mangroves, no birds or fish to be seen.  But there was a pretty terrific sunset.

sunset in the mangrove swamp

5 thoughts on “Mangrove lagoons in Puerto Rico

    • Like plants that grow in saline environments, mangroves excrete the salt taken in through the roots, usually depositing in leaves or bark. Pretty ingenious, those plants.

  1. Dr. Chaplin,

    We were in Puerto Rico a few years ago and we kayaked through the mangroves at night to a bioluminescent bay containing bacteria that light up when agitated. At one point a manta ray swam by our group…just amazing!

    • Hi Adam. We tried to see the bioluminescence, but apparently there was some pollution of the beaches that has reduced those bacteria at present. Saw lots of green sea turtles and rays, though (during the daytime).

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