Adaptation to salinity in mangroves: Implication on the evolution of salt-tolerance


A plant’s adaptation to its environment is one of the most important issues in evolutionary biology. Mangroves are trees that inhabit the intertidal zones with high salinity, while salt tolerance competence of different species varies. Even congeneric species usually occupy distinct positions of intertidal zones due to differential ability of salt tolerance. Some species have different ecotypes that adapt well to littoral and terrestrial environments, respectively. These characteristics of mangroves make them ideal ecological models to study adaptation of mangroves to salinity. Here, we briefly depict adaptive traits of salt tolerance in mangroves with respect to anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, and review the major advances recently made on both the genetic and genomic levels. Results from studies on individual genes or whole genomes of mangroves have confirmed conclusions drawn from studies on anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, and have further indicated that specific patterns of gene expression might contribute to adaptive evolution of mangroves under high salinity. By integrating all information from mangroves and performing comparisons among species of mangroves and non-mangroves, we could give a general picture of adaptation of mangroves to salinity, thus providing a new avenue for further studies on a molecular basis of adaptive evolution of mangroves.

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Correspondence to SuHua Shi.

Additional information

Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 30730008, 30470119, and 30500049)

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Liang, S., Zhou, R., Dong, S. et al. Adaptation to salinity in mangroves: Implication on the evolution of salt-tolerance. Chin. Sci. Bull. 53, 1708 (2008).

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  • mangroves
  • salt stress
  • adaptive evolution
  • gene
  • genome