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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

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Seeds for the Future Project a Blooming Success

11 Dec 2014

Growing native wild flowers and grass seed for local re-vegetation projects is proving to be a blooming success thanks to a partnership between AMES, Parks Victoria and the Western Melbourne Catchments Network. It’s resulted in about 1000 plants and 25 species of flowers and grasses being propagated, raised and now…

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Westerfolds parkrun

20 Dec 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families, prams 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…

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Melbourne Tramways Band Recital

21 Dec 2014 2:30pm-4:30pm

The Melbourne Tramways Band will be holding their "Christmas Reflections" recital at the open air bandstand in Wattle Park in Burwood (weather permitting). Mel 60 J3. Bring your own rug or chair. If a concert is to be cancelled Parks Victoria will be advised by midday. You can check by…

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Westerfolds parkrun

25 Dec 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families, prams 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…

Click to view RSS Feed

Westerfolds parkrun

27 Dec 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families, prams 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…