Extending along the shores of many islands, one finds forests of Galapagos mangrove of four species: red, black, white and button. A rich concentration of nutrients and plankton flows in and out with the tides, making mangrove forests important breeding and nursery grounds for fishes and invertebrates. They are also used as nesting sites by many birds.
Mangrove Swamps consist of a variety of salt-tolerant trees and shrubs that thrive in shallow and muddy saltwater or brackish waters. Mangroves can easily be identified by their root system. These roots have been specially adapted to their conditions by extending above the water. Vertical branches, pneumatophores, act as aerating organs filtering the salt out and allowing the leaves to receive fresh water.
Mangroves are thought to have originated in the Far East, then over millions of years, the plants and seeds floated west across the ocean to the Galapagos Islands. Mangroves live within specific zones in their ecosystem. Depending on the species they occur along the shoreline, in sheltered bays, and others are found further inland in estuaries. Mangroves also vary in height depending on species and environment. The Galapagos is home to 4 types of Mangroves: