Adaptation Mechanism of Mangroves


  • Mangrove environment is very vital and robust. The mangrove species are adapted to deal with these severe environmental conditions in multifarious ways.
  • Breathing roots: Oxygen for the purposes of respiration is needed by the underground tissue of any plant. As far as the mangroves are concerned, oxygen in the soil is in very limited supply. This means that the mangroves take up oxygen from the atmosphere. For this purpose, mangrove species have specialized above ground roots called breathing roots or pneumatophores. These roots have numerous pores through which oxygen enters into the underground tissues. In some plants buttress roots function as breathing roots and also provide mechanical support to the tree.
  • Stilt roots: In some mangrove species, roots emerge from stems and branches. Such roots get into the soil some distance away from the main stem as in the case of banyan trees. These stilt roots are endowed with many pores through which atmospheric oxygen enters into the roots.
  • Vivipary: It is postulated that “saline water, unconsolidated saline soil with little or no oxygen is not a conducive environment for seeds to germinate and flourish. To overcome this, mangrove species have a unique way of reproduction, which is generally known as vivipary”. This is a very unique method of reproduction. In this method, seeds germinate and develop into seedlings while the seeds are still attached to the parent tree. These seedlings are normally known as propagules. They photosynthesize while still attached to the mother tree. The parent tree supplies water and necessary nutrients. They remain buoyant and float in the water for sometime before rooting themselves on suitable soil.