Mangroves and coral reefs are two types of specialized marine ecosystems because of their high productivity and their unique and diverse flora and fauna. A coral reef ecosystem, in particular, is considered as the most diverse in the world.
Comprised of a large number of species, a coral reef serves as a breeding, feeding, nursery and spawning ground for many organisms. Aside from its high productivity, the coral reef ecosystem also represents all the animal Phyla, from the aquatic Mammalia to minuscule Protozoa. The coral reef is the dominant ecosystem among shallow-water marine ecosystems.
Mangroves are another specialized ecosystem because of their high diversity and productivity. Their roots are submerged in hot, muddy and shallow salt water, a condition that may not be suitable for most trees. Many kinds of birds, insects and reptiles take residence in the mangrove ecosystem. Shallow water marine animals, such as crustaceans and some kinds of fish, thrive on the mudflats connected to the mangrove shoreline.