is an undersea paradise, full of unique plants and animals. While
these cooler waters might be considered dangerous and uninviting to some,
marine life abounds in the world just beyond the breakers, this northern
boundary of Bass Strait. The sea abutting Victoria is, for the most part
relatively shallow. Bass Strait at its deepest point is approximately
shallow nature of the marine environment and the predominant south westerly
winds create a high-energy coastal environment on Victoria's open coast.
Waves constantly pound the exposed southern shores, carving out deep ledges
and gullies in rocky areas, while moving and sculpting coarse sand elsewhere.
Where the sea funnels into embayments (e.g. Western Port and Port Phillip
Bay), marine conditions are more "settled", with finer sediments and different
Tasman Sea and the warm eastern Australian current from the east and the
more fertile, colder subantarctic waters from the south-west influence
the shallow basin of Bass Strait.
upwelling of nutrients from the deep sea are infrequent events off the
Victoria coast. The coastal waters are characterised by low nutrient concentrations
as a result. Water temperatures on the open coast range from approximately
12 to 18 degrees celcius although this variation is more marked in shallow
bays and inlets.
little freshwater is received by the sea from land in Victoria. Only around
14 percent of the rainfall ends up in the ocean, with no major rivers
draining to the Victorian coast.
lives there ?
enormous array of plant and animal forms has evolved to take advantage
of the relatively low nutrient levels in these coastal waters. While the
abundance of plants and animals are limited in our coastal waters, many
groups are extraordinarily diverse compared to other parts of the ocean.
such as red and brown seaweeds, crustaceans and ascidians have far higher
species richness than in comparable cool water habitats elsewhere.