Similarities Between Oak Trees & Mangrove Trees

Oak trees and mangrove trees differ from one another in appearance and growth habits. Oaks are native to the Northern Hemisphere and feature smooth or serrated leaves and a nut, while mangroves are swamp trees or shrubs that thrive in coastal regions of the tropics and subtropics and feature roots that rise above water level. The two types of trees share a few similarities regarding their function and use.

Easily Identifiable

Though different in appearance, both oaks and mangroves are easy to identify in the United States. Oaks are identified by their long leaves that feature nine lobes around the edges. These lobes vary in size and shape, according to the species. While some lobes are well defined, others are not as pronounced and resemble tiny bumps. Oaks also produce acorns that are visible on the tree. Mangrove roots rise above the surrounding water level to "breathe air." The trunk of a mangrove tree is supported by aerial roots and does not begin at water or ground level.

Have Multiple Species

Oaks and mangroves are not individual trees; each is composed of many species. Each species has a certain set of characteristics and growth habits that sets it apart, thus enabling it to grow in a particular place. Oaks include but are not limited to pine oak, willow oak, swamp white oak, northern oak, pine oak, chestnut oak, cork oak and Turkey oak, while mangrove species include buttonwood, black mangrove and red mangrove.

Deciduous

Both oaks and mangroves are deciduous trees, which means they shed foliage once a year and become barren or bare. Although oak also comprises evergreen species, the leaves of the deciduous oaks change color in fall before they fall off the tree. New growth emerges in spring. The fleshy leaves of mangroves keep them hydrated during the summer months. Mangroves thrive in areas with high salt content, which is why the tree and its leaves work hard to store water to prevent evaporation and dehydration.

Ecologically Significant

Both oaks and mangroves provide many different animals a natural habitat where they live and raise their young. The dense canopy of an oak tree provides shelter to animals, including various species of birds, chipmunks and squirrels. Birds of different kinds nest among the thick leaves, which provide adequate protection from heavy rains and strong winds. According to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, 75 percent of prawns and fish in Queensland spend a portion of their life cycle in mangrove trees. Fish such as barramundi and mullet raise their young in the muddy waters of mangrove trees, and oysters and shrimp exist there as well. Mangrove forests provide feeding and nesting opportunities for birds, including egrets and herons. Two hundred thirty species of birds were recorded to flit through Australian mangroves alone. Mangroves also provide shelter to spiders, snakes, flying foxes and salt water crocodiles, and food for marine species, including shrimp, snapper, snook, tarpon and jack.

Keywords: oak and mangrove, oak trees, mangrove trees

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