Many animals and plants live in the open waters of Bass Strait or the Southern Ocean away from the shoreline. These areas are affected by strong winds, powerful tidal currents and large waves.
Open waters contain small drifting animals and plants such as sea jellies, krill and phytoplankton, as well as the larvae of marine animals and plants.
Seabirds including penguins, gannets, gulls, and albatross, feed in the open waters for. Many of these species use the coast for breeding but spend long periods of time out in open waters. Marine mammals, such as Australian Fur Seals, Bottlenose Dolphins, and Southern Right Whales, also use open waters as areas to feed or breed.
- Climate change effects including warming sea surface temperatures and increasing ocean acidity
- Marine pests which compete for food or space
- Poor water quality entering the sea from catchments
- Oil and chemical pollution
- Fishing or removal of animals and plants