How Mangroves Manage Climate Change

Dense mangrove forests provide an ecological boost wherever they are found because they protect both land and sea species. They are really ecosystems unto themselves with nuance and each with their own history. That history can help us understand how the delicate forests will survive climate change, we know they have before and now we can understand how we can help them survive our current rapidly changing climate.

Mangroves are also gorgeous!

“The most amazing part of this study is that we were able to examine a mangrove ecosystem that has been trapped in time for more than 100,000 years,” said study co-author Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, a marine ecologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and a Pew Marine Fellow. “There is certainly more to discover about how the many species in this ecosystem adapted throughout different environmental conditions over the past 100,000 years. Studying these past adaptations will be very important for us to better understand future conditions in a changing climate.”

Combining multiple lines of evidence, the study demonstrates that the rare and unique mangrove ecosystem of the San Pedro River is a relict—that is, organisms that have survived from an earlier period—from a past warmer world when relative sea levels were six to nine meters (20 to 30 feet) higher than at present, high enough to flood the Tabasco lowlands of Mexico and reach what today are tropical rainforests on the banks of the San Pedro River.

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