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The Roots of Life

Red mangrove trees survive the relentless tides of their coastal habitat by perching atop a snarly nest of hardy roots. But take a peak under water, and it becomes clear that these dense webs benefit more than just the trees. This photo by Duke graduate student Y. Stacy Zhang, shows how the calm, protected waters created by mangrove roots provide a home for a vibrant community of invertebrates, including oysters, coral and sponges, and tropical fish (lower left). Zhang took this photo while visiting Hurricane Hole National Monument with Duke Marine Lab’s Marine Ecology course.