Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Eighty Mile Beach on the northwest coast of Australia. The photograph was captured by an astronaut onboard the International Space Station.
Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park is a protected area that contains mangrove forests and seagrass meadows, as well as the Cape Keraudren Nature Reserve.
“The area shown in this photograph is an example of an intertidal zone ecosystem – where the coastline is above seawater at low tide and submerged in seawater at high tide,” explains NASA.
“As low tide approaches, the ebb current takes seawater toward the Indian Ocean and exposes salt flats, intertidal flats, and mangrove forests. As high tide approaches, the flood current takes seawater inland and floods the coastline. During both incoming and outgoing tides, seawater flows through coastal waterways called tidal creeks.”
“Mangrove trees withstand the fluctuation between high and low tide by means of an elongated root system that is exposed at low tide. Local fauna, such as the north-western mangrove seasnake, can be found living in this root system. Other species, like the mangrove golden whistler, are found in the tree canopy.”
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory