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Environment

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Plants

Point Cooke includes a typical example of the very shallow western shore of Port Phillip, with narrow beaches of sand and mud. The combination of rocky, sandy and muddy habitats present, supports a fascinating range of marine life. Off the coast, a series of low basalt reefs rise from the muddy seafloor, the remains of a larval flow that poured out across the plains thousands of years ago.

The main plant on the reef is the bushy brown seaweed, Sargassum, which harbours innumerable tiny animals and plants between its leaf-like fronds. Prickly sea urchins are abundant near crevices, while the exposed sections of rock support a range of life including masses of worm tubes, carpets of anemones and meadows of tufting coralline and filamentous algae. In darker corners, sponges grow plentifully.
 
Small sharks and skates patrol the surrounding eelgrass beds and muddy seafloor, feasting off the bivalves that lie deep in the sediment. In late summer, swarms of jellyfish pulsate over the reefs, clearing the water of the microscopic plants and animals that build up in the nutrient rich environment. Bryozoans, sea stars, ascidians, bivalves, crustaceans, molluscs, sharks, skates and many other species of fish also occur in the area.

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