Today, my dad and I went snorkeling in the mangroves at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo Florida. The whole purpose of Mission 31 is to look at the health of the reefs, but we went to see what the mangroves look like. A lot of mangroves have been cut down, and we went to see what the health of the remaining mangroves are.
From above, mangroves look like plain old trees growing in water (and plain trees are never as plain as they seem), but we take a look at what's beneath the surface and see that each root is covered in a mass of colorful life.
These are what the roots look like:
And these are of the wildlife (mostly fish) that live in the mangroves: (You may notice that most of the fish are pretty small. Mangroves are a great place for fish to hide while they are young, and the roots are the perfect spot for fish to lay their eggs, so the mangroves are sort of like fish nurseries! This is part of what makes them so important to the environment.)