11 August, 2022
Fiddler crabs burrowing beneath arid mangrove forests help bring beneficial bacteria to an ecosystem in dire need of nutrients.
Plant growth in arid mangrove forests is limited by a lack of rainfall, poor nutrient availability and high soil salinity. “Mangroves are the most efficient ecosystem in the world at absorbing carbon dioxide and therefore fighting climate change,” says marine scientist Marco Fusi. As global warming puts pressure on these essential ecosystems, biologists are investigating ways to improve their resilience.
“Arid mangroves are challenging environments that offer a unique opportunity to study how plants and animals have adapted to cope,” says marine microbiologist Jenny Booth.
Image: When fiddler crabs burrow into mangrove soils, they help to distribute nutrients and beneficial bacteria throughout the soil, as well as positively impacting soil salinity and pH.
© 2022 KAUST; Marco Fusi