|Gene and Melody reliving scenes from The African Queen|
What a perfect morning into afternoon. It was great to see the always good company Melody and Gene and it was even better to see them and share a slog through the wetlands.
While we didn't see my favorite spider, Nephila clavipes, there were plenty of other sightings to make up for it. It was good to be away if only for a few hours and it's nothing short of amazing that I can be completely surrounded by a mangrove wetland yet still be less than three miles from home.
|A mangrove tree crab (Aratus pisonii) on a barnacle-encrusted mangrove root.|
Mangrove trees are a vitally important buffer between water and land in the tropical regions of the world. They grow at the water line and their interlocking roots form a barrier to tidal and hurricane surges. Those same interlocking roots serve a nursery for many of the commercially important fish and crustaceans that keep afloat the economies of the maritime tropics. It's pretty simple, with no mangroves, the land washes away and there are no crabs, shrimp or fish like snapper. Keeping mangrove wetlands intact and healthy is a matter of life and death frankly.
The oil spill in the Gulf right now threatens all of this in a very immediate way and I hope with every fiber of my being that that spill doesn't lead down a path where it very well may. As great as being out in the wetlands was today I can't shake the feeling that the sword of Damocles hangs over all of us.