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What are propagules?

By Staff | Jul 1, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Red mangrove propagules

This time of year, you may notice something that looks similar to a large green bean hanging on trees, washed up on the beaches or even floating in the water. Young red mangroves trees, known as propagules, are out in full force.

Mangroves are viviparous, meaning that they produce live young. After pollination occurs, the seeds remain attached to the parent tree. The seeds will then develop (germinate) into propagules before falling off the parent tree. The propagules either remain near the parent tree or will be dispersed with the help of currents and tides to other shorelines. Once the propagules reach substrate, they will then sprout roots and leaves, continuing their growth into a larger tree.

Mangroves are vital to the survival of many different species, including humans. They provide copious benefits, such as erosion control, protection from extreme weather and water quality management. They function as a nursery ground for fish and invertebrates, while also creating complex natural habitats for both marine and terrestrial life.

As propagules fall from trees, Coastal Watch will collect them for use at future restoration sites. In February, it partnered with the city of Sanibel and MANG to fortify existing mangroves along Woodring Road. The section of road is subject to erosion and shoreline degradation and was in a great need of assistance. Stay tuned for updates on Coastal Watch’s mangrove restoration projects.

Part of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation family, Coastal Watch creates and implements conservation initiatives that promote and improve the future of marine resources and the coastal heritage. For more information, visit sancapcoastalwatch.org or contact coastalwatch@sanibelseaschool.org.

Source: Coastal Watch