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Sponge Gardens

Yellow Zoanthis (photo: Jonathan Stevenson)

Yellow Zoanthis (photo: Jonathan Stevenson)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Draughtboard Shark (photo: Mark Norman)

Draughtboard Shark (photo: Mark Norman)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Encrusting Sponge (photo: Mark Norman)

Encrusting Sponge (photo: Mark Norman)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Sea Tulip (photo: Mark Norman)

Sea Tulip (photo: Mark Norman)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Butterfly Perch (photo: Julian Finn)

Butterfly Perch (photo: Julian Finn)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Brightly coloured and composed of a huge range of invertebrate species, sponge gardens are found growing on deep reefs (generally >20m) along the coast of Victoria. These habitats flourish in deeper waters or shaded areas because they do not require much light, unlike algae and seagrass.

The invertebrates which make up the fascinating ecosystem include sponges, hydroids, sea fans, sea whips, sea pens, tube worms, bryozoans and ascidians. These, in turn, provide an important habitat for other animals (e.g. nudibranchs).

The invertebrates which make up sponge gardens are generally filter feeders, which means that they filter small particles out of the water column for food.  Sponge gardens play an essential role in nutrient cycling in the ocean.

Key Threats

  • Fishing or removal of animals and plants
  • Marine pests such as the Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis) or the Japanese Kelp (Undaria pinnatifida) which compete for food or space
  • Anchor damage
  • Climate change effects including sea level rise, warming sea surface temperatures, and increasing ocean acidity.

Where to see sponge gardens

Related links

Spotted-tailed Quoll caught on camera in Great Otway NP Click to view the news RSS feed.

Endangered Spotted-tailed Quoll sighted in Great Otway National Park

07 Aug 2014

An endangered Spotted-tailed Quoll has been sighted in the Great Otway National Park for the first time in 24 years. Related to the Tasmanian Devil, and colloquially known as the ‘Tiger Quoll’, the animal was caught on a remote camera set up as part of an ongoing program by Parks…

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Westerfolds parkrun

23 Aug 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families and dogs are all welcome! Westerfolds parkrun occurs every Saturday morning. We're based near the main carpark off the Fitzsimons Lane entrance, and the course is run entirely on sealed paths within the park.

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Heart Foundation Walking - Park Walk

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

Take a journey of discovery along the Fosters Gully Nature Walk where the forests and undergrowth provide food and shelter for many species of birds and animals. If you are quiet you may be able to see and hear many of the species of wildlife that live in the park.…

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Westerfolds parkrun

30 Aug 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families and dogs are all welcome! Westerfolds parkrun occurs every Saturday morning. We're based near the main carpark off the Fitzsimons Lane entrance, and the course is run entirely on sealed paths within the park.

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Heart Foundation Walking - Park Walk

31 Aug 2014 9:30am-10:20am

A superb loop walk that winds through woodland, wet heathland & along boardwalks. Along the way you will encounter a variety of flora including hakeas, wattles, tea-trees, mistletoe, swamp bush pea and button grass. This guided walk is run by Friends of Bunyip State Park.