Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy World Oceans Day! Oceanic Blog-A-Thon

Today is the first official World Oceans Day and as you can imagine this is a day for celebration at Shellbelle's Tiki Hut!

This year's theme is:

one ocean, one climate,
one future

We live on a blue planet, dominated by the ocean which covers 70% of its surface. The world’s ocean and climate are inextricably linked: the ocean plays a crucial role in maintaining the Earth's climate, and ocean life is vulnerable to climate change. Likewise, in our interconnected world, the ocean affects us and we affect the ocean. A healthy ocean helps to absorb excess carbon dioxide, provides jobs and food to people the world over, and regulates climate and temperature. –The Ocean Project

The Ocean Project has ask two things of us today. First, wear blue in honor of the ocean. Secondly, tell people two things they likely don't know about our ocean and how they can help.

Here in Florida we have mangrove trees and they play an important role in preserving our coastlines and the inhabitants of the world's oceans. There are three species of mangroves in Florida: Rhizophora mangle (Red Mangrove), Avicennia germinans (Black Mangrove) and Laguncularia racemosa (White Mangrove). Yesterday I was hiking at Weedon Island and took this picture of the distinctive roots of the red mangroves and the black mangroves.

Red mangroves live closest to the water and are actually in the water at high tide. The roots of the red mangrove drop down from their branches and embed themselves in the sediment below. These are called prop roots and they have the ability to take in water while keeping out the salt. The appearance of the prop roots of the red mangrove have given them the nickname of walking tree, because they appear to be walking on water. This tree takes in oxygen through pores on its bark called lentices.

Black mangrove roots are just as distinctive as those of the red mangrove. The black mangrove grows behind red mangroves and its root system sends out finger-like projections called
pneumatophores, which extend upwards through the sediment, allowing the tree to take in oxygen. Black mangroves remove salt by excreting it through their leaves.

White mangroves cannot survive in the water, so they grow the furthest from the coastline. They have neither prop roots or pneumatophores, but their leaf stems have two bumps that remove the salt taken in by their roots.

So, now you're asking yourself what all this information has to do with World Oceans Day, right? All food chains start somewhere and one of these chains begins in mangroves. The leaves of mangrove trees fall into the water, where they decompose into a substance called
detritus. Detritus is ingested by critters, such as small crabs and young shrimp, which in turn are eaten by fish, who are then eaten by bigger fish, who end up in the bellies of mammals, such as dolphins, thus completing the food chain.

The mighty mangrove doesn't stop at food chains in aiding our coastal ecosytem! The tangled roots of mangroves also provide a habitat for many marine organisms and protect the young of many larger species. Mangroves also serve as nesting sites for many of our beautiful birds. Mangroves protect our coastlines against erosion, they filter pollutants from river runoff and they're just darn beautiful! Unfortunately, mangroves are being lost. The good news? You can help!

Visit the Mangrove Action Project to help reverse the degradation and loss of mangrove ecosystems worldwide.

Quick Facts from the Mangrove Action Project:

• 75% of all tropical commercial fish species pass part of their lives in the mangroves

• Sea grass beds and coral reefs depend on healthy mangroves to filter sediments and provide nursery grounds for resident species

• Mangroves provide our coastlines protection from strong winds and waves and aid in preventing coastal erosion

• Mangroves absorb carbon dioxide and store carbon in their sediments, thereby lessening the impacts of global warming

As I wrote earlier, mangroves play an important part in a food chain, but there is something that that does not belong in our oceans — something that has been ingested by precious creatures and something that ultimately led to their deaths. What is this you ask? Garbage! We've all seen it on our beaches — plastic bottles, fast-food containers, tangled fishing lines and more. The garbage was thrown there or washed ashore from some unknown location. What are people thinking? Animals eat this crap or they get caught in it and they die. They die.

Did you know that an estimated 100,000 mammals and 2 million seabirds die every year after eating or getting caught in plastic? So, wherever you are or whatever you're doing, don't leave your trash behind. Take it with you and dispose of it properly. Please. Thank you.

To celebrate this special day I want to share the following with you from The Ocean Project:

The Seven C's for Ocean Conservation:

Commit to making a real difference

Aim to be carbon neutral by reducing and offsetting your energy consumption.

Conserve in your home
Upgrade to Energy Star appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Consume consciously

Rethink what you need, purchase “green” products, and buy locally grown foods and sustainable seafood.

Communicate your interests and concerns

Let your friends, family, colleagues, and the local media know about the impact of climate change on the ocean.

Challenge yourself daily

Walk, bike, carpool, and take public transportation to cut down your coral-reef harming carbon emissions.

Connect in your community
Get active as a volunteer with a local watershed or ocean group.

Celebrate our ocean!
Take part in a World Ocean Day activity near you or plan your own.

Find more information and inspiration at: and

For more World Oceans Day posts visit CrazyCris @ Here There and Everywhere who is hosting the Oceanic Blog-A-Thon!

19 Thoughtful Comments:

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Thank you for all your "C" worthy words. There is such delight in this celebration. Thank you for stopping by. May your sails be set free this day in shared joy.

Travel & Dive Girl said...

I love the seven "C"s - AWESOME!

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Thanks for following - my pleasure to follow as well! You are sure to enjoy my post of: Saturday, February 28, 2009
Sometimes Real Sometimes Pretend

we share sea toys!!


Rose Marie

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks for the all the great information. I'm certainly wearing blue today! I even told the video store guy what day it was today! Spread the word!

Lillian Robinson said...

It's a sad testimony... Everywhere on the planet, life forms are suffering because of our careless actions. Thanks for your story. Happy Oceans Day!

CrazyCris said...

Wonderful post!

It's nice to see the mangroves getting some appreciation! I had so much fun around them as a teenager visiting Veracruz and the Florida Keys... hiking around mangrove coasts is a very rewarding challenge, just teeming with wildlife!

Thanks for participating in the Blog-A-Thon! :o)

Brian Miller said...

great post! lived in FL for a few years. your cycle of life was a cool take on the day. each piece playing its part. happy Oceans Day!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely, enjoyable read. I can tell you put much care and thought into it. Thank you for the great call to action.

Nicky said...

I had no idea about mangrove trees - especially since I'm landlocked - and that was fascinating to me. I had heard the name, but never knew there were more than one type of mangrove or how much of a role they played in ocean life. You made it interesting, and you made a good point! (several, actually)

Kat said...

What a wonderful post! I loved the information about mangroves, I had no idea that there was more than one variety. I just love the look of them, such great opportunities for some beautiful photos. It is sad what is happening to our beautiful beaches. As Pogo said "we have met the enemy and it is us". Hopefully posts like this will help turn it around. Kathy

Shellbelle said...

Thank you all for celebrating World Oceans Day with me and thank you Chris for hosting the Oceanic Blog-A-Thon.

I'm happy to see you all enjoyed learning more about Mangroves. Kathy, there are about 50 species worldwide, isn't that amazing?

You were right Rose, I did enjoy your post Sometimes Real Sometimes Pretend . I have always held seashells in awe, ever since my grandmother told me the mermaids left them on the shore while I was sleeping. They remind me of her and all that can be.

penny said...

Hi Shellbelle, I love your blog, it is Awesome!
I also enjoyed this informative post about our world of oceans. They really are our lifeline and we need to protect and care for them.
Mangroves do play an important part in Florida, that is why they are protected from being cut down and uprooted.
Happy beachcombing, Pam i am :D

Vicki ~ FL said...

Hi Rhonda, love your blog and I will be "following" you. I've not been in FL too long but learned alot about mangroves from your blog.

Noticed on the side about the Sand Scultpting Festival, I've already marked it in my calendar! There's another down in Ft. Myers in November, I believe. Thanks for all the info and a belated Happy World Oceans Day!

Thanks for visiting my blog and when I'm up your way I'll be visiting the Florida Botanical Gardens.

Vicki ~ FL said...

BTW Rhonda, where do I find Rose' blog and her post Sometimes Read, Sometimes Pretend. Sounds like it might have something to do with shells and I am getting into that.

Shellbelle said...

You can find Rose's beautiful poem @

She is amazing!

Maya@Completely Coastal said...

I am so grateful for all the people who speak up and try to raise awareness about the ocean and the planet in general. It's so hard to read all this..., how we humans behave toward nature. There is such a disconnect... And it wasn't too long ago that I didn't even know about the great Pacific garbage patch.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Rhonda:)


Lovely themes, gorgeous photo and a detailed write up to celebrate the World Oceans Day. I can see you have put your heart and soul in making this fantastic, educative post.

Many, many thanks.

Have a wonderful day Rhonda:)

Beach House Dreamer said...

Great post. Thanks!!!
You're on my blogroll!

Sierra said...

Wow, so glad I came across your site! I am an ocean dreamer myself and I had not heard of these organizations until today...I will have to go and check them out! Oh, I love your name. It's too cute. I will definitely be visiting again. ;)

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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