Red Mangroves

Rhizophora mangle

Mangroves are a tropical, tree forming plant that dominates the shorelines in the bay. Mangroves are wetland plant and are important in trapping pollutants, store vast carbon reserves belowground, and provide shoreline protection from storm surge and wind. Significant damage to the canopy of mangroves was reported from Hurricane Charley in 2004 (Milbrandt et al. 2005). 

The other disturbance to Red Mangroves of Florida is low air temperature and frost. In 2010, most of the mangroves on the north side of the Caloosahatchee were affected by frost during the 2010 cold stun event. Responses to frost disturbances are an active area of research at higher latitudes (Tampa, St. Augustine) due to northward migration of the population due to decreased frequency of cold events (Cavanaugh et al. 2014). 

The images above show mangroves in the Caloosahatchee River in June 2008 and then in April 2010 after an extreme cold event. Use the slider to swipe between and compare the two images. (Please note the slider works best on larger screens such as computers or tablets, there may be issues when viewing it on a phone) Did you notice the die back in 2010? If you look at the small creeks in the middle of the image you can see how much larger they look in 2010. This is because the thick mangrove canopy that was covering them in 2008 has been lost.