Mangroves, Central America

Photograph by Brian Skerry, National Geographic

Mangroves contribute to the system by trapping reef-bound sediment, filtering out pollution, and serving as nursery for many reef fish and invertebrates. The arched roots of mangroves like these form gateways through which multitudes of juveniles swim toward adulthood on the reef.

See more pictures from the October 2012 feature story "Meso Amazing."