Mangroves at Oleta River State Park
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – OLETA RIVER STATE PARK – SUNNY ISLES, FL
This photograph of mangroves was taken at Oleta River State Park in Sunny Isles, Florida. The gear used for this capture was a Nikon D90 camera body attached to a Tamron 28-300mm lens.
The Florida mangroves eco-region includes three mangrove species:
- Rhizophora mangle — Red Mangrove.
- Avicennia germinans — Black Mangrove
- Laguncularia racemosa — White Mangrove
- and one species that is variously classified as a mangrove or a mangrove associate,
- Conocarpus erectus — Buttonwood.
These plants have differing adaptions to conditions along coasts, and are generally found in partially overlapping bands or zones. The Red Mangrove grows closest to open water. It has multiple prop roots, which may help to stabilize the soil around its roots. Next comes the Black Mangrove. It does not have prop roots, but does have pneumatophores, which grow up from the roots to above the water level. The White Mangrove grows closest to shore. It may have prop roots and/or pneumatophores, depending on conditions where it is growing. The Buttonwood grows in shallow, brackish water, Florida swamps, or on dry land.
The Florida mangroves eco-region, of the Mangrove forest Biome, comprise an ecosystem along the coasts of the Florida peninsula, and the Florida Keys.
Mangrove Habitat for Fauna
The Florida mangrove system is an important habitat for many species. It provides nursery grounds for young fish, crustaceans and mollusks. Many fish feed in the mangrove forests, including snook (Centropomus undecimalis), Gray or Mangrove snapper (Lutjanus griseus), Schoolmaster snapper (Lutjanus apodus), tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, Hardhead Silverside (Atherinomorus stipes), juvenile Blue Angelfish (Holocanthus bermudensis), juvenile Porkfish (Anisotremus virginicus), Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus), Great Barracuda (Sphryaena barracuda), Scrawled Cowfish (Lactophrys quadricornis) and Permit (Trachinotus falcatus), as well as shrimp and clams. An estimated 75% of the game fish and 90% of the commercial fish species in south Florida depend on the mangrove system.
The branches of mangroves serve as roosts and rookeries for coastal and wading birds, such as the brown pelican (Oelicanus occidentalis), roseate spoonbill (Ajajia ajaia), Frigatebird (Fregata magnificans), Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus), Great White Heron and Wurdemann’s Heron, color phases of the Great Blue Heron (Adrea herodias), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Green Heron (Butorides striatus), Reddish Egret (Dichromanassa rufescens) and Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca). Other animals that shelter in the mangroves are the American Coot (Fulica americana), American Crocodile, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus), Mangrove Snake (Nerodia clarkii compressicauda) and the Atlantic Saltmarsh Snake (Nerodia clarkii taeniata ).
Oleta River State Park
Florida’s largest urban park, Oleta River is located on Biscayne Bay in the busy Miami metropolitan area. Although it offers a variety of recreational opportunities, the park is best known for miles of off-road bicycling trails, ranging from novice trails to challenging trails for experienced bicyclists. Along the Oleta River, at the north end of the park, a large stand of beautiful mangrove forest preserves native South Florida plants and wildlife. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle the river to explore this amazing natural area.