Challenging Habitats: Southern Saltmarshes and Mangroves
The information presented here has been written by staff at the
Marine Discovery Centre, Queenscliff, Victoria.
2. Key Species - Plants
White mangroves are the only species found in Southern Australia and live in water logged saline muds. Networks of aerial roots called pneumatophores allow roots to breathe.
Leaves have salt glands that allow them to excrete excess salt. Mangrove seeds float and are well developed allowing them to quickly establish themselves if lodged in mud.
The various algae that grow on the pneumatophores and trunks of mangroves are an important food source for grazing animals like snails that live in the mangrove community.
There are a number of species of algae that are unique to mangroves. These simple plants convert sunlight energy into food through the process of photosynthesis.
Being able to cope with the salty soils in which they live, Beaded Glassworts have small succulent leaves that store water. Lower leaves are filled with salts and turn reddish as plants mature and fall off the plant, removing excess salt. Previously glassworts were burnt to produce ash used in glassmaking.