You are here

Home > Park management > Environment > Ecosystems > Marine > Seagrass beds

Seagrass beds

Broad Leaf Seagrass (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Broad Leaf Seagrass (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Seagrass beds

Narrow Leaf Seagrass (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Narrow Leaf Seagrass (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Seagrass beds

Banjo Shark (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Banjo Shark (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Seagrass beds

Pot-bellied Seahorse (photo: Mark Norman)

Pot-bellied Seahorse (photo: Mark Norman)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Seagrass beds

Cow Fish (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Cow Fish (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Seagrass beds

In the sheltered parts of many bays, inlets, and estuaries flowering plants called seagrasses establish extensive underwater meadows. Seagrasses are critical in the lifecycles of many fish species with many spending the early part of their life in seagrass beds.

Seagrasses trap soil and other materials washed from the land and bind them together. This stops them from clouding the water and preventing light reaching plants on the bottom.

Seagrasses provide shelter for many marine species. They contribute large amounts of plant material that breaks down to form detritus (a major food source for invertebrates).

In the past three decades, catchments that have been extensively modified for urban or agricultural development leading to a massive decrease in seagrass beds, particularly in bay areas. This decrease means there is reduced habitat for commercially significant fish and internationally important bird species.

As seagrasses can take many decades to recover, loss of this habitat is a community concern.

Animals found in seagrass beds include Banjo Shark (Trygonorrhina fasciata), Cow Fish (Aracana aurita) and Pot-bellied Seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis). Types of seagrass Narrow Leaf Seagrass (Zosterea nigricaulis) and Broad Leaf Seagrass (Posidonia australis).

Key Threats

  • Catchments which result in poor water quality entering the sea containing either large amounts of nutrients like nitrogen that cause algal blooms, or significant loads of sediments that cloud the water
  • Oil and chemical pollution
  • Fishing or removal of animals and plants
  • Marine pests which compete for food or space such as the Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis) or the Japanese Kelp (Undaria pinnatifida)
  • Boat and anchor damage in shallow areas
  • Climate change effects including sea level rise, warming sea surface temperatures, and increasing ocean acidity.

Where to see seagrass beds

Related links

A Brolga in native saltmarsh Click to view the news RSS feed.

Local “Kakadu” site restored for native wildlife

15 Apr 2016

A saltmarsh area that is vital habitat for native wildlife including the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot in Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay is being restored thanks to a partnership between Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria. The five year restoration project is focusing on a saltmarsh area at Point Wilson near Lara…

View all latest news

What's on

Click to view RSS Feed

What's on at Albert Park

1 Jul 2015 12:00am - 30 Jun 2016 12:00am

A wide variety of events are held at Albert Park throughout the year. Events range from fun runs and sporting tournaments to other community events. See the full calendar here.

Click to view RSS Feed

Threatened birds of the Murray Mallee information session and field day

14 May 2016 9:30am - 15 May 2016 12:00am

BirdLife Australia is holding a weekend of events exploring threatened birds of the Murray Mallee and the importance of appropriate fire management in their conservation. On Saturday at an information session at DELWP Mildura, 308 Koorlong Rd, Irymple hear from researchers from La Trobe University, DELWP and BirdLife Australia, then…

Click to view RSS Feed

TROS WALK - DARBY SADDLE

15 May 2016 9:30am-11:30am

TROS is a community project in partnership with Parks Victoria to create a communal meeting place at the site of the current play ground at Tidal River. Darby Saddle One or two steep'ish climbs but ample opportunity to choose your own pace and adventure.it is not a guided walk. We…

Click to view RSS Feed

Friends of Glen Nayook working bee

22 May 2016 9:00am-11:00am

General maintenance. Morning tea provided.