The mangrove trees are the habitat itself, with their extensive root systems they slow water flow, making particulate matter settle, creating the muddy habitat, and the large surface area of the roots provide shelter and habitats for countless organisms.
The root systems of mangrove trees are very shallow, extending less than two metres below the surface. Horizontally, however, they spread in a dense mass over large distances. Many mangrove species are very unusual in that the proportion of plant material below the surface is much greater than that above, another feature that probably helps them to remain anchored in soft sediments.
Some genera, such as Aegialitis, Aegiceras, Exoecaria, Kandelia, Osbornia, Scyphiphora and Nypa do not have aerial roots. Kandelia may develop pneumatophores under some conditions. Some species have other adaptations to aerate the root system, such as the spongy, enlarged stem base in Aegialitus.
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