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MANGROVES & COASTAL PLANTS OF VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO

 

PHOTOS: RED MANGROVES, WHITE MANGROVES, BLACK MANGROVES & BUTTONWOOD

DRY FOREST PLANTS SLIDESHOW


THE MANGROVE HABITAT
A variety of organisms utilize mangrove habitats. Marine species inhabitant the underwater prop root complex and tidal channels. All fish and shellfish caught commercially, and by recreational means, utilize mangrove habitat at some point in their life cycle. Amphipods, fiddler crabs, killifish and minnows live in mangroves and eat detritus. Lobster larvae floating in the plankton, migrate to the roots of red mangroves. They consume both plant and animal material. The sea trout (from the croaker family) tolerate higher turbidity and feed on fish in mangroves and sea grass beds. Also carnivorous, snook can be found in the mangroves. In addition to the marine organisms, both terrestrial organisms and birds utilize the forest floor, root complex and the canopy. Mangrove communities are also known to provide habitat for a number of threatened and endangered species.

Mangroves reproduce by dropping their 'propagules' into the water which float across the waters until they lodge into the ground, on perhaps a distant seashore. There they take root and form a new plant, if allowed to grow. Propagules contain no seeds. They have already matured on the plant and are 'ready to go' plants that only need lodge themselves to send out their roots and leaves. They are viable, floating in the ocean, for up to a year.

DRY FOREST PLANTS SLIDESHOW

Watch my video of the daytime Mangrove canals

THE BIOBAY HABITAT

The bioluminescent dinoflagellates 'Pyrodinium bahamense v. bahamense' are a photosynthesis using plankton who create chemical light at night. They are one celled and measure about 1/500 th of an inch. The tiny burst of light it gives off at night is a hundred times bigger than itself. Each dinoflagellate bursts into light when it feels pressure against its cell wall. When you add the light bursts of a million dinoflagellates per cubic foot of water together the effect is spectacular!

Almost all marine bioluminescence is (greenish) blue in color, for two related reasons. First, blue-green light (wavelength around 470 nm) transmits furthest in water. The reason that underwater photos usually look blue is because red light is quickly absorbed as you descend. The second reason for bioluminescence to be blue is that most organisms are sensitive only to blue light.

The luminescence of a single dinoflagellate is readily visible to the dark adapted human eye. Most dinoflagellates emit about 6e8 photons in a flash lasting only about 0.1 second. Much larger organisms such as jellyfish emit about 2e11 photons per second for sometimes tens of seconds. The intensity of luminescence by photosynthetic dinoflagellates is strongly influenced by the intensity of sunlight the previous day. The brighter the sunlight the brighter the flash! Which is only emitted at night.


black necked stilt in the salt flats behind Sun Bay Vieques Puerto Rico
Black Necked Stilt

 


More photos of the birds of Vieques

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ELENAS VIEQUES ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE