Wednesday, August 8, 2018

August 8, 2018

Location: Vero Beach, Lagoon Greenway

These are pneumatphores of a Black Mangrove
Which was cut down, this is what's left of the tree.
Pneumatphores are hollow or contain spongey tissue,
Which is how the Black Mangrove breathes.

Very special thanks to Carol Hebert for correcting my initial ID, and to Harry Breidahl taking the time to send me an email explaining in detail what I took a picture of. Quoting from his email:

"What you have observed here is the structure of a mangrove root system that allows it to survive in the aerobic (oxygen free) mud in which it grows. That wonderful smell of rotten-eggs generated by mangrove forest mud is the clue to the fact that this mud is an oxygen free environment (rotten egg gas = hydrogen sulphide). Because the roots of a mangrove tree are living they need oxygen to survive and the role of the pneumatophores is to provide this oxygen.

Here is how it works - pneumatophores are either partially hollow or full of spongy tissue and when the tide is out this allows the pneumatophore to adsorb fresh air. Then (and here is the fun bit) when the tide comes in and covers the pneumatophores the water pressure forces the ‘fresh’ air down into the mangrove roots. Because the tide goes in and out twice a day that means that mangrove roots breathe in twice a day and out twice a day. "

Click the link below for an excellent graphic that explains it further.

Sources: Marine Education Society of Australasia - Mangroves of Australia

Photo and text © 2018 Dee Fairbanks Simpson

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