What are coastal and intertidal shore ecosystems?
Often lashed by the wind laden with salt spray, the coast is very dynamic and a difficult environment for living things, with some of its physical features such as dunes and cliffs subject to continual change. Exposure to the power of large waves generated in the Southern Ocean has produced the rugged, eroded landforms that characterise much of our western coastline. In more sheltered areas there are a wide range of other habitats.
Wind, salt, and unstable low nutrient soils made largely of sand that hold little water are the critical influences on the vegetation of the coast and plant communities growing in these areas have evolved a range of strategies to help them cope with this challenging environment.
Plant communities typically found along the coast are:
- Coastal Dune Scrub –includes plants well suited to the most exposed section of the coast and include many pioneering dune binding plants such as Hairy Spinifex (Spinifex hirsutus)
- Coastal Moonah Woodlands – often growing on calcareous dunes and cliffs on the coast dominated by the Coastal Moonah (Melaleuca lanceolata subsp. lanceolata)
- Coastal Banksia Woodland – restricted to near coastal localities on secondary dunes behind Coastal Dune Scrub, these areas are dominated by a woodland over story of Banksia tees
- Coastal Saltmarsh – in flatter areas of low energy coastlines some areas are dominated by succulent plants that can cope with high salinity soils and some inundation and exposure to salt water and poor drainage.
- Hardy shrubs such as Coast Tea-tree, Coast Beard-heath, Seaberry Saltbush and Coast Wattle occur on secondary dunes or exposed rock headlands
- Moonah, Boobialla, Drooping She-oak and Coast Banksia are found on the stabilised dunes and swales on the landward side
- The most prominent group of large coast dwelling animals are birds such as Orange-bellied Parrot and Pied Oystercatcher which depend directly on saltmarsh plants or a wide range of invertebrates (animals without backbones) for food
- The Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwaters (Muttonbirds) nest in burrows in the dunes.
- Issues related to impacts from increasing visitor use, combined with edge effects from urban development are key threats to this ecosystem.
- Rising sea levels and greater frequency of storm events due to climate change may impact on vegetation, estuaries as well as coastal assets.
Where do I find the coast and intertidal shores?
17 Jun 2013
A group of 260 year 8 students and their teachers from Ivanhoe Grammar School have just completed a huge project to help tackle weeds in the Grampians National Park with Conservation Volunteers. During the past two months, groups of students spent fifteen days volunteering with Parks Victoria and Conservation Volunteers as part …
26 May 2013 10:00am - 23 Jun 2013 2:30pm
This course is an Advanced course for Botanical Drawing and Painting. Develop observation skills and learn about tonal values, pencil and ink rendering, composition, colour, watercolour and gouache' Explore, develop and understand a variety of techniques to create your own detailed botanical studies. Time: Sundays 26 May - 23 June, 5 x 4.5 hours = 20 …
19 Jun 2013 5:15pm-6:15pm
The bat count is held once a month at dusk when the whole colony of 10,000 -20,000 bats fly out to feed around Melbourne’s suburbs. New counters are very welcome and much appreciated. Experience is not necessary as training is provided on the night. Wear comfortable shoes for walking, dress …
1 Jul 2013 9:00am - 28 Jul 2013 5:00pm
View some inspiring works of art and photography developed by students from Rosebud Secondary College, under the guidance of local artist mentors, during a recent immersive youth arts workshop at Point Nepean. Artwork is on show daily between 9am and 5pm at Hospital 3 within the Quarantine Station. iConnect - Young …
8 Jul 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm
This historical tour provides a unique opportunity to view a cave that is rarely open to the public and is part of the same cave system as the Royal and the Fairy show caves. Lit only by solar-powered pathway lights, you are provided with a helmet and headlight to view …
Check out the free App from Friends of Barwon Bluff. Check out the free App from Friends of Barwon Bluff. Timeline PhotosThe Barwon Bluff App (for iPhone & iPad) is available *now* from the App Store, this App will lead you around the Barwon Bluff and surrounds and help you to identify, understand and appreciate this unique environment and the plants and animals that live within. Check it out!!View post | Tue, 18 Jun 2013 11.49
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Thanks to David Flagg, Ranger at You Yangs Regional Park, for sharing his pictur...Thanks to David Flagg, Ranger at You Yangs Regional Park, for sharing his picture of Big Rock on sunset. Beautiful!View post | Sun, 16 Jun 2013 18.07
Kanowna Island, Wilsons Promontory National Park is home to one of the four larg...Kanowna Island, Wilsons Promontory National Park is home to one of the four largest Australian fur seal breeding colonies in the state.View post | Fri, 14 Jun 2013 14.38
Park rangers have been busy spreading important public safety information to vis...Park rangers have been busy spreading important public safety information to visitors with heavy rainfall predicted across many areas of the state over the next few days. Pictured here is Ranger in Charge Ben Robertson speaking to campers at Wilsons Promontory National Park, one of the areas expected to receive significant rainfall. Please take care if you’re planning on getting out and about in Victoria’s parks and forests as many tracks, trails and visitor sites may be impacted by the wet conditions. For more info go to http://bit.ly/11G9uC3View post | Wed, 12 Jun 2013 16.08