Mangrove ecosystems are tropical/subtropical communities of primarily tree species that grow in the intertidal zone. These tidal communities are important coastal ecosystems that are valued for a variety of ecological and societal goods and services (fig. 1). Mangrove wetlands are important filters of materials moving between the land and sea, trapping sediment, nutrients, and pollutants in runoff from uplands and preventing their direct introduction into sensitive marine ecosystems such as seagrass beds and coral reefs. Mangroves serve as nursery grounds and refuge for a variety of organisms and are consequently vital to the biological productivity of coastal waters. Furthermore, because mangroves are highly resilient to disturbances such as hurricanes, they represent a self-sustaining, protective barrier for human populations living in the coastal zone. Mangrove ecosystems also contribute to shoreline stabilization through consolidation of unstable mineral sediments and peat formation. In order to help conserve mangrove ecoystems, scientists with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at the National Wetlands Research Center are working to more fully understand the dynamics that impact these vital ecosystems.