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Subtidal rocky reefs

Red Velvet Fish (photo: Mark Norman)

Red Velvet Fish (photo: Mark Norman)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Common Kelp  (photo: William Boyle)

Common Kelp (photo: William Boyle)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Victorian Scaly Fin (photo: Amelia Fowles)

Victorian Scaly Fin (photo: Amelia Fowles)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Short Tailed Nudibranch (photo: Julien Fynn)

Short Tailed Nudibranch (photo: Julien Fynn)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: Subtidal rocky reefs

Jewel Anemone (Photo: Mark Norman)

Jewel Anemone (Photo: Mark Norman)

Photo by: 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)

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Down to Earth

24 Sep 2016 8:00pm - 17 Dec 2016 8:30pm

Down to Earth is a theatrical production performed at the Werribee Park farm at night. Set in 1862 it combines the history of the farm with interactive comedy and scary elements. Suitable ages 10 and up. Dates available 24 sept, 14, 22 October, 4 November 9 and 17 December.

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Down to Earth

4 Nov 2016 8:30pm - 28 Feb 2017 8:30pm

A highly entertaining theatrical performance that takes you through the restored historic farm at Werribee Park. It's scary, fun and based on the history of the farm.

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Carols by Candlelight

10 Dec 2016 8:00pm-11:00pm

Celebrate Christmas and join in the festivities singing carols and being entertained under the stars at this popular family event.

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Friends of Glen Nayook working bee

11 Dec 2016 9:00am-11:00am

Carpark maintenance. Morning tea provided.