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)

3 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Common Kelp  (photo: William Boyle)

Common Kelp (photo: William Boyle)

3 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Victorian Scaly Fin (photo: Amelia Fowles)

Victorian Scaly Fin (photo: Amelia Fowles)

3 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Short Tailed Nudibranch (photo: Julien Fynn)

Short Tailed Nudibranch (photo: Julien Fynn)

3 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Jewel Anemone (Photo: Mark Norman)

Jewel Anemone (Photo: Mark Norman)

3 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

Explore Victoria's Rock Reefs brochure (PDF 2.6mb)

Related links

Click to view the news RSS feed.

Kids discover the wonder of why in our parks these holidays

16 Mar 2015

Parks across the Southern Peninsula are offering free Easter school holiday activities, as kids explore the wonder of why, how, when and where in our great outdoors. From meeting critters on our rocky shores and in our waterways to exploring our ANZAC and early pioneering history, kids between 6 to…

View all latest news

What's on

Click to view RSS Feed

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.

Click to view RSS Feed

Grampians Naturewise Experience

24 Apr 2015 8:30am - 26 Apr 2015 6:00pm

Come join our Grampians Naturewise holiday experience in Victoria! You will join park rangers to track and protect the elusive Brush-tailed Phascogales. Go behind the scenes and enjoy the breathtaking landscape with local walks while assisting with endangered species monitoring. The Grampians National Park has recently captured footage of a…

Click to view RSS Feed

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…

Click to view RSS Feed

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…