You are here

Home > Park management > Environment > Ecosystems > Marine > Subtidal rocky reefs

Subtidal rocky reefs

Red Velvet Fish (photo: Mark Norman)

Red Velvet Fish (photo: Mark Norman)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Common Kelp  (photo: William Boyle)

Common Kelp (photo: William Boyle)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Victorian Scaly Fin (photo: Amelia Fowles)

Victorian Scaly Fin (photo: Amelia Fowles)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Short Tailed Nudibranch (photo: Julien Fynn)

Short Tailed Nudibranch (photo: Julien Fynn)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Jewel Anemone (Photo: Mark Norman)

Jewel Anemone (Photo: Mark Norman)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

As the name suggests, subtidal rocky reefs are composed of rocks (e.g. granite, limestone, basalt) which are always submerged, even at low tide. Found in both deep and shallow waters, they provide an essential, solid foundation which many plants and animals need to survive. Erosion from wave action can create rock overhangs and crevices which provide shelter and protection to the species which live there.

Subtidal rocky reefs are home to a fascinating and diverse range of marine plants and animals. Shallower reefs can support extensive plant communities forming kelp forests whereas deeper communities can be brilliantly coloured due to the huge diversity of sponges and marine invertebrates. Even though Victorian reefs are temperate, bright corals are common in many areas as well as magnificent fish.

The reefs are vital to the survival of many species, including commercially viable species such as abalone and rock lobsters. They also provide an excellent site for divers and snorkellers to experience a huge range of Victoria’s marine life.

Key Threats

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

Where to see rocky reefs

Related links

Students hard at work Click to view the news RSS feed.

Hands on work a bonus for students

17 Jul 2014

Parks Victoria Ranger Shane Reger has been providing hands on working experience for TAFE and University students for nearly twelve years. Over that time he’s shown hundreds of young people how to put into practice what they’re learning in the classroom. This time the lucky group were three students doing…

View all latest news

What's on

Click to view RSS Feed

Winter No Frills Friday racing

1 Aug 2014 7:00pm-9:00pm

Low key, fun, club level MTB racing

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…