You are here

Home > Park management > Environment > Ecosystems > Marine > Sponge Gardens

Sponge Gardens

Yellow Zoanthis (photo: Jonathan Stevenson)

Yellow Zoanthis (photo: Jonathan Stevenson)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Draughtboard Shark (photo: Mark Norman)

Draughtboard Shark (photo: Mark Norman)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Encrusting Sponge (photo: Mark Norman)

Encrusting Sponge (photo: Mark Norman)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Sea Tulip (photo: Mark Norman)

Sea Tulip (photo: Mark Norman)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Butterfly Perch (photo: Julian Finn)

Butterfly Perch (photo: Julian Finn)

Photo by: 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

CEO Bradley Fauteux first catch Click to view the news RSS feed.

Parks Victoria CEO first fish in capable hands

13 Apr 2016

Parks Victoria’s new CEO Bradley Fauteux has received his new Victorian fishing licence, and is all geared up for his first fish in Australian waters, on the iconic Lorne pier. He is certainly in capable hands, being shown the ropes by Mr Dallas D’Silva, General Manager of VRFish, Victoria’s peak…

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

Information session: Eastern Barred Bandicoot protection program

3 May 2016 6:00pm-8:00pm

You’re invited to attend an information session on work underway to protect the endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot at Woodlands Historic Park. Talk to staff from Parks Victoria and experts from the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team about the reintroduction of Bandicoots into a predator proof enclosure in the park’s ‘Back…

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…