The Ecosystem 3
Abiotic Factors 3
Wind & Currents 3
Biotic Factors 4
Fallen Leaves 4
Animal Life 5
Species found 5
Food web 6
The Mangroves are an essential part of the UAE habitats. The mangroves of Abu Dhabi cover an area of 77 square kilometers. The flora and fauna present in the mangroves and the surrounding marine life contribute to making the overall ecosystem of Abu Dhabi better. The mangroves in Abu Dhabi are considered as one of the most diverse habitats in the Gulf. In a coast oriented perspective the mangroves cover 340 miles of the coast of Abu Dhabi. The mangroves largely consist of gray mangrove trees which are typically found in tidal areas. This is normally due to their endurance for higher levels of salt.
The mangroves of Abu Dhabi also contain the resource of tropical shrubs which are important for fisheries. It is crucial due to the fact that fisheries come at the second place after oil as an important resource. Mangroves act as a major carbon sink which is very essential to the environment. As a carbon sink, the mangroves absorb a very large amount of population generated in the city.
Furthermore, about the collection method, we reviewed and study it about mangrove and we search in many website that related to the ecology of the mangrove in Abu Dhabi. After we got enough information and knowledge about mangrove ecosystem, we went to field trip to observe the wild life and the mangrove ecosystem in this trip. Finally we went to mangrove islands by kayaking on small boats and we starting taking pictures of the organisms, vegetation and soil.
The ecosystem of the Abu Dhabi Mangroves contains natural elements which are to be categorized and identified for gaining a detailed insight of the ecosystem. The ecosystem of the Abu Dhabi Mangroves consists of several abiotic and biotic elements.
The soil in the mangroves is formed of alluvium and it is mostly found water logged. The soil around the mangroves is found to be contained of sand or soft mud due to this. The plants and animal mostly rely on the strong roots of the mangroves for maintaining foothold. The soil in the mangrove area was mostly salty.
Wind & Currents
Due to the abundance of mangrove trees, the atmosphere within the area remains humid. A mild current could be found in the area but strong winds were absent. The intensity of the tidal waves could be found around the coastal areas but in the internal area, wind current was mostly low or absent.
There was abundant light due to the openness of the mangroves area. The abundance of sunlight rendered the air dry.
The water in the mangroves is salty and due to that, the soil in the area also contains high amount of soil.
As we know the biotic factors are that the organisms live and how they adapt with mangrove ecosystem such as animals, plants, insects, bacteria, fungi, and dead organisms.
The plant life found in the mangroves is diverse but the pattern which can be found is that they are tough as they have to face harsh conditions of currents and salty water. Some mangrove stands were recently planted but majority were naturally growing. The mangroves appear unique with roots that protrude from the plants. Due to the high amount of salt in the water, the plants secrete salt which can be found on the leaves. It is the reason behind they gray color of the mangroves. Mangroves have a mesh of roots which can be seen in the bottom of the plants. (Envronment Agency of Abu Dhabi, 2015).
As we have many level of the food chain and they are: (producer, herbivore, carnivore, omnivore, and decomposer)
Grey Mangrove (Avicennia Marina)
Role in food chain: producer
Fallen Leaves, bacteria & algae
Role in food chain: Decomposers
The mangroves provide a unique ecosystem for the marine life. The mesh of roots of the mangrove plants provide cover and habitat to a variety of marine life and crabs could be found clinging to the roots. A variety of fishes were also present which evidently contributes to the fisheries.
Green Tiger Prawn
Scientific Name: Penaeus semisulcatus
Level in food chain: primary consumer
(Ocean Wise, 2015)
Blue Swimmer Crab
Scientific Name: Portunus Palegicus
Level in food Chain: primary consumer
(Department of Fisheries, 2014)
Scientific Name: Metopograpsus messo
Level in food Chain: Omnivore
Ehrenberg’s Snapper (small fishs)
Scientific Name: Lutjanus Ehrenbergii
Level in food chain: secondary consumer
(Wildscreen Arkive, 2015)
West Reef Heron
Scientific Name: Egretta gularis schistacea
Level in food chain: tertiary consumer
Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus roseus
Level in food chain: tertiary consumer
The gray mangroves are the source of food for the algae and small fish in the food chain through the fallen leaves going in the water. The mollusks in the water food on the fallen leaves for the calcium inside them. The detriment which is mainly comprised of fallen leaves is consumed by fish and prawns both. Prawns mostly consume the larvae gathering around the leaves. Fishes are mostly consumed by humans through fisheries and crabs. The crabs and fish are consumed by the herons and the flamingoes taking the top spot in the food chain along with humans who also feed on the fish. There is abundance of fishes but the amount of detriment is decreasing to decrease of mangroves over the years.
Government has planted new mangroves in the attempts to restore balance to ecosystem.Human activity over the years has led to decrease in the amount of fishes due to fisheries. Human activities of oil drilling and the overall climate change have led to destruction of mangrove trees over the years.
Conservation of mangroves has been done by the government through the re-planting of trees. If the amounts of mangroves are restored, the amount of detriment will increase for the fishes and prawns restoring balance to the whole food web. (Alexandris, Chatenoux, Torres, & Peduzzi, 2014)
Competing Organisms in the Ecosystem
It is a belief that the greater flamingoes and the west reef herons feed on the same elements but their feeding habitats differ which doesn’t cause a competition. While the herons feed primarily on fishes, crustaceans and mollusks, the flamingoes feed on algae and small fish and not crustaceans which changes their feeding areas. There is competition found in the feeding of the crustaceans like prawns which are eaten by the fishes as well as herons and flamingoes. The crabs feed on algae which is also consumed by many species at the lower level of the food chain but as it is largely available, organisms do not have to compete for it.
Alexandris, D. N., Chatenoux, B., Torres, L. L., & Peduzzi, D. P. (2014). Monitoring Mangrove Restoration from Space. Geneva: UNEP.
Department of Fisheries. (2014). Blue Swimmer Crabs. Retrieved from www.fish.wa.gov.au: http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/species/blue-swimmer-crabs/Pages/default.aspx
Envronment Agency of Abu Dhabi. (2015). Mangrove forests. Retrieved from Environmental Atlas Of Abu Dhabi Emirate: https://www.environmentalatlas.ae/seaToSummit/mangroveForests
Ocean Wise. (2015). Shrimp/Prawn. Retrieved from www.oceanwise.ca: http://www.oceanwise.ca/seafood/shrimpprawn/green-tiger-prawn
Wildscreen Arkive. (2015). Ehrenberg’s snapper. Retrieved from www.arkive.org: http://www.arkive.org/ehrenbergs-snapper/lutjanus-ehrenbergii/image-G120158.html