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Sponge Gardens

Yellow Zoanthis (photo: Jonathan Stevenson)

Yellow Zoanthis (photo: Jonathan Stevenson)

3 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Draughtboard Shark (photo: Mark Norman)

Draughtboard Shark (photo: Mark Norman)

3 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Encrusting Sponge (photo: Mark Norman)

Encrusting Sponge (photo: Mark Norman)

3 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Sea Tulip (photo: Mark Norman)

Sea Tulip (photo: Mark Norman)

3 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Sponge Gardens

Butterfly Perch (photo: Julian Finn)

Butterfly Perch (photo: Julian Finn)

3 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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Firewood collection to close near Mildura

19 Mar 2015

Parks Victoria advises that Sunday 22 March 2015 will be the last day for firewood collection for this season from the two designated domestic firewood collection areas at Buxtons Bend and Graces Bend near Mildura. The nearest collection areas that will remain open are near Robinvale. “For this Autumn collection…

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What's on for April in Albert Park

1 Apr 2015 - 30 Apr 2015

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.

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Yarra Valley / Kinglane Naturewise Experience

27 Apr 2015 8:30am - 28 Apr 2015 6:00pm

This Naturewise trip provides a great opportunity to help contribute to the work critical for the long term recovery and management of the National Park. You will play an important part in the recovery efforts as you work alongside Parks Victoria staff to collect important data relating to the location…

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Woodlands Night Watch

30 Apr 2015 5:30pm-10:00pm

Woodlands Historic Park comes to life at dusk with kangaroos, wallabies, possums and other wildlife springing into action.We will be looking out for the Eastern Barred Bandicoots and learning about the program to save them from extinction. We start the evening with a light dinner under the stars before heading…

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What's on for May in Albert Park

1 May 2015 - 31 May 2015

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.