A view from space on Yap shows a green island with dense forests. Yap is not a volcanic island, but part of the largely submerged oceanic Philippine plate (whereas actually most of the Philippines do not belong to this tectonic plate). In the east, the Pacific plate is partially subducting below this plate, forming the Yap trench with more than 8500m depth. Yap Island is surrounded by a 1-2km broad fringing reef, that is interrupted by several channels and inside there are highly structurated lagoons and bays. Along the coastline there are extensive mangrove forests. During our Marine Biology Weeks we explored several Mangrove sites, which can be seen in the map:
- German Channel
- Channel Maap – Rumung
- Chamorro bay
- Mangroves at Mii´l lagoon
- Mangroves at Tamil
Ecological role & nutrient cycles
Considered by some as useless and unaccessable swamp full of mosquitoes – in fact the mangroves present a fascinating and important ecosystem , and within it is teeming with life. Building a bridge between land and the sea, mangroves serve as a nursery for reef fish, haven for small marine life and habitat for a peculiar community.