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)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Seagrass beds

Narrow Leaf Seagrass (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Narrow Leaf Seagrass (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Seagrass beds

Banjo Shark (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Banjo Shark (Photo: Mark Rodrigue)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Seagrass beds

Pot-bellied Seahorse (photo: Mark Norman)

Pot-bellied Seahorse (photo: Mark Norman)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Seagrass beds

Cow Fish (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

Cow Fish (photo: Mark Rodrigue)

2 years ago from 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

The cubby removal team Click to view the news RSS feed.

Brimbank Park connecting with local community

14 Jul 2014

A job that would have taken Parks Victoria Rangers Kirraly and Dannica hours to complete was done in less than half an hour thanks to some new volunteer hands at Brimbank Park. It was hard rubbish collection week, and someone had decided to use a heap of materials left in…

View all latest news

What's on

Click to view RSS Feed

National Tree Day plantings

27 Jul 2014 9:30am-1:30pm

Friends of Dandenong Valley Parklands invite you to join them in planting shrubs under the trees in Shepherds Bush next to Nortons Park. BBQ lunch provided. Families welcome.

Click to view RSS Feed

The First Shot Commemoration

5 Aug 2014 11:00am-5:00pm

Tuesday 5 August 2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the first shot fired in the British Empire in World War I. This shot was fired from Coastal Artillery Gun Emplacement 6 at Fort Nepean on 5 August 1914 at 12:45pm, just 3 hours 45 minutes after war was declared…

Click to view RSS Feed

The Melbourne Mega Bat Count

6 Aug 2014

The Grey-headed Flying-fox is the largest flying-fox (also known as a fruit bat) species in Australia. Each month the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology conduct the monthly bat count at Yarra Bend Park at dusk on the Wednesday evening closest to the risen full moon. This data is critical…

Click to view RSS Feed

Heart Foundation Walking - Park Walk

6 Aug 2014 10:00am-11:00am

Enjoy the fresh air of this beautiful park and get an insight into the park’s fascinating history, flora and fauna. This free guided walk run by Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park will lead you across the famous Corrigan Suspension Bridge which stretches through the rainforest canopy, and on either…