An astronaut aboard the International Space Station photographed the western coast of Australia where mangrove forests thrive along Eighty Mile Beach. These mangrove forests are located within the Eighty Mile Beach Marine Park, a 220-kilometer (140-mile) stretch of protected beach and coastal waters in western Australia. The marine park includes the rocky shores of Cape Keraudren, where a coastal nature reserve provides access to mangrove forests and seagrass meadows.
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. 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.
Aquatic species found in this coastal region of Australia include the Darwin jawfish and the endangered dwarf sawfish.
Astronaut photograph ISS067-E-5185 was acquired on April 6, 2022, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 420 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 67 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Francesca Filippone, Texas State University, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.