Mangroves are small trees that form an important protective fringe along the estuary of the Barwon River. They provide important protection for coastlines from the erosion caused by waves and storms. With a complex network of roots and branches mangroves, like sea-grasses, form an important habitat for many marine species that spend a part or all of their life in this habitat. They are important as nursery habitat for many fish and crustacean species as well as trapping large amounts of silt and building up mudflats.
The White Mangrove (Avicennia marina) is the only mangrove species found in Victoria. It also grows in tropical areas as much larger trees.
Mangroves have a range of features that allow them to survive on the edge of the sea in the challenging habitat of thick, airless and salty mud. They have specialised breathing roots, salt glands for removing excessive salt and large seeds that can float in seawater.
Many species of animals including crustaceans and fish, feed among the mangroves in the early stages of their life. Species found in this habitat include Yellow Eye Mullet (Aldrichetta forsteri), Mangrove snail (Bembicium sp) and Mud Crabs (Paragrapsus laevis).