Habitats and their Dependent Species: Reefs

As part of our campaign to celebrate Victoria’s marine environment, this week we share some insights on the reefs of Port Phillip Bay and Western Port from the State of the Bays (SotB) 2016 report.

The intertidal, subtidal and deep reefs (including the deep canyon reef at Port Phillip Heads) are important ecological assets of Port Phillip Bay, providing valuable ecosystem services for Victorians. Reefs act as a wave break protecting beaches from erosion, reef-associated algae act as a nutrient sink, and reefs are sites of detritus production that underpins the detrital food chain in soft bottom habitats.

Source: exploreunderwatervictoria.org.au

There are two key types of reefs in our bays. They are:

Subtidal: sheltered, shallow reefs of Port Phillip Bay that are never exposed to the air from tidal influences, generally covering depths of 2.5-20 m.

Intertidal: periodically exposed to air at low tide but are submerged or directly influenced by sea water at high tide. Intertidal reefs are also known as rocky shores.

Despite their proximity to Victoria’s largest cities, Melbourne and Geelong, Port Phillip Bay and Western Port are quite healthy overall. To measure the environmental health of the bays, the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability worked with marine scientists who identified 36 indicators across the six key topics you can see on the State of the Bays website. For the upcoming State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 report, the majority of the existing indicators from SotB will be featured, along with a series of new indicators – particularly social, economic and cultural indicators.

We invite you to head to our interactive State of the Bays website here and access the SotB 2016 report – the next iteration of the report will include an expanded scope and be titled the Victorian State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 report – currently in preparation by the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability. https://lnkd.in/gB5Z4ey