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SUBSTRATE:  Waterlogged, anaerobic, brackish sediment deposited by freshwater runoff and tides, and increased by organic matter from mangroves.

TOPOGRAPHY:   Low-lying, intertidal zone, with some extensive to irregularly flooded higher fringe areas.

VEGETATION:  Three species of true mangrovesred mangrove dominates middle and lower portions of intertidal and upper subtidal zone; black mangrove dominates upper intertidal zone and irregularly flooded higher elevations; white mangrove is found in patches in higher parts of intertidal zone; buttonwood is often on upland fringe; all grow as trees or large shrubs.

FAUNA:  Valuable habitat for wide range of invertebrates and vertebrates, including 220 fish and 181 bird species; habitat of endangered American crocodile and Florida manatee.

PROCESSES / DYNAMICS / ABIOTIC FACTORS:  Limited by temperature to tropics and subtropics; fluctuations of water level necessary for proper development; salt water excludes potential plant competitors; hurricanes may prevent mangroves from reaching maximum heights.

HUMAN IMPACTS:  Thousands of acres have been destroyed and replaced with filled and developed land; can be seriously damaged by oil spills and herbicides; both sport and commercial fisheries decline when mangroves are destroyed.

ANIMALS AND PLANTS NATIVE TO ECOSYSTEM: List of selectable animals and plants native to the Mangroves ecosystem, with detailed descriptions and pictures on each.