A journey into the scenery found where the ocean meets the shore

By Nicki Johnson / HICN / Updated: 21:41,20-September-2021

These are plants that grow in the tropical and subtropical coastal regions. When the tide rises, they are only barely visible beneath the rippling water, but when the tide goes out, they can be seen peeking out from the mud. From the intertidal zone, if you head towards the open ocean, you’ll find a completely different ecological scene, with totally different creatures... In Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Episode 8, the film crew takes a journey into the beautiful scenery found where the ocean meets the shore.

Screenshot from Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Episode 8, Ocean and Shore

Mangrove forest wetlands are found at the ever-shifting border between ocean and shore, where they are periodically submerged in seawater. This unique ecosystem located at the convergence of land and sea has a unique role to play in nature’s ecological balance.

Screenshot from Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Episode 8, Ocean and Shore

Danzhou Bay’s mangrove forest ecosystem is classified as an inland sea coast. It features fairly solid salt-infused sandy soil which is an ideal habitat for the Chinese Horseshoe Crab. It also supports a large variety of shellfish which attract migratory Spoon-billed Sandpipers every winter. This is one of Hainan’s most important migratory bird habitats.

Chinese Horseshoe Crab. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

Different kinds of shellfish. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

Spoon-billed Sandpiper. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

The Xinying Mangrove Forest wetlands are located in Danzhou’s Bochao Harbor. The hot, humid climate provides a variety of habitats suited to mangrove trees and breeds a rich diversity of ecosystems. Many large and medium-sized water birds make their homes here and the population numbers of migratory birds every winter are holding steady.


Black-faced Spoonbill. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

Of Hainan’s mangrove forests, Dongzhai Harbor is the most spectacular “maritime forest”. Many rivers and creeks wend their way to the ocean here carrying a huge amount of microscopic organic matter into the bay. In the vast shallows, deep, loose layers of silt have accumulated, forming the perfect conditions for all kinds of sea creatures to breed and multiply.

Screenshot from Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Episode 8, Ocean and Shore

The Huiwen Wetlands features a wide variety of different ecologies and landforms, including most of China’s coastal wetland types, with interlocking mangrove forests, beds of seagrass, and coral reefs. Mangrove forests, river estuaries, silt beaches, sandy beaches, shallow waters, and coral reefs are all found here, each one shifting gradually to the next or even overlapping each other.

As the tide goes in and out, the intertidal zone is alternately above and under water. The temperature and salinity level change frequently. Sickle Seagrass takes root here in the water where it ripples with life. Seagrasses are the only kind of high-level flowering plant that can live entirely in saltwater.


Seagrass. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

When the tide goes out, the coral reef is exposed along with the sandy beach. The Horn-eyed Ghost Crab takes a cautious look outside. After confirming it’s safe, he begins to tidy up his lair. The creatures of the coral reef are quite active.

A Horn-eyed Ghost Crab takes a look around. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

Under the water, there’s an entirely different ecology, filled with all kinds of creatures including colorful, eye-catching corals that resemble deer horns, fans, flowers, twigs, and many more elegant shapes, as well as a large variety of other ocean-dwelling species.

Coral. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

Coral. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

The ocean still holds many mysteries waiting to be discovered.

Discovering Mysteries Season 2 started being broadcasted worldwide on August 2. The first part of Discovering Mysteries Season 2 focuses on the wetlands and the mangrove forest. Season 2 will have a total of 24 episodes, each running around 4 minutes. This season explores the mangrove forest, the wetlands, Baihualing, and the rainforests of Wuzhishan, as well as Jiaxi and the Exianling nature reserve.

This is Hainan: Discovering Mysteries is a short documentary series that shines a light on Hainan’s ecological and cultural geography. It reveals Hainan’s natural environment, focusing on nature, ecological protection, and scientific research, giving viewers a look inside the natural ecology of the Hainan Free Trade Port, the many plant and animal species native to the island, and the achievements of the national ecological culture pilot zone.

Open the New Hainan App, Hinews, or Nanguo Metropolis Daily, or the Hainan International Communication Network (https://www.hicn.cn/) to watch the eighth episode, Ocean and Shore!

Click the links to see more episodes of Discovering Mysteries:

Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Collection

Discovering Mysteries Season 1 Collection 

Producers: Guo Zhimin, Wu Bin, Han Chaoguang

Production Supervisor: Luo Jianli

Executive Supervisors: Hu Xufa, Lin Ying , Yu Weihui, Ao Kun

Filmmaker / Director: Li Xiaogang

Writers: Mi Hongxu, Li Xiaogang

Videography: Xu Wei, Liu Sunmou, Mi Hongshu, Zheng Ziyu, Li Xiaogang

Editors: Li Xiaogang, Xu Wei

Special Videography: Feng Erhui, Chen Zhengping, Luo Lixiang, Lü Shiyang

Narrator: Liu Yang

Print Media Design: Gong Yuming

Translator:Nicki Johnson

Jointly Produced by: The Hainan Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park Management Office and the Hainan Wild Plant & Animal Protection Management Office

With special thanks to: Hainan Pingtouge Culture Media Co. Ltd.

Jointly Produced by: New Hainan APP, Hainan International Media Center and Hinews

A production of: Nanguo Metropolis Daily

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