Are There Trees in the Sea?
Photo By Prof. Madya Dr. Siti Aishah Abdullah
Yes, there are!
Trees in the sea are exactly how you would imagine it to be. Torn between the land and ocean, mangroves live neither fully on land nor fully submerged in the ocean. Hence, mangrove plants face challenges that are not faced by their terrestrial relatives.
During high tide, the roots of mangrove trees are submerged underwater. In order to allow their roots to ‘breathe’, the trees have roots above the ground, unlike typical land plants whose roots are buried in the ground. The tips of these roots remain above the water, even during high tides, serving as little ‘snorkels’ to keep the tree alive.
When not submerged, mangrove trees face yet another problem. While land plants have solid ground to dig their roots into to keep them from falling over, mangrove plants must stay upright on soft, muddy ground. To overcome this problem, mangrove plants have many roots that spread over a wide area that keeps them stable in the softest of grounds.
Ocean Hope Message: It is important to protect mangrove forests because they protect our coastline from erosion and form barriers that shield us from tsunamis. So the next time you hear about a mangrove restoration program near you, do your part: plant a tree!