Rocky reefs, kelp beds and inter-tidal zone
Tasmania’s cold-water reef habitats contain a variety of colourful plants and animals including giant kelp, sponges and corals, fish, seadragons, crayfish and abalone. The rocky reefs of southern Tasmania are considered to be among the most diverse marine habitats in Australia, with hundreds of different species contained within a small area.
Saltmarsh and tidal flats
Saltmarshes and tidal flats occur in the intertidal zone, which is the area underwater at high tide and exposed to air at low tide. Tidal flats are large muddy or sandy areas that are inundated by the tide daily, where as saltmarshes are at the higher end of the intertidal zone, and are generally inundated less frequently. In Tasmania saltmarshes mainly occur in small patches and are generally found within bays and at the mouths of creeks and streams. Their extent depends upon the shape of the landscape, being largest in flat low-lying areas. Within the Derwent estuary the largest area of saltmarshes and tidal flats occurs in Ralphs Bay near Lauderdale. They are highly productive habitats provide food and shelter for a diverse suite of marine and terrestrial species, and also support the healthy functioning of estuaries.
Sandy soft sediments and seagrass
Seagrasses are grass-like plants adapted for life underwater in coastal environments. These highly productive plants provide food and shelter for many fish, birds and other animals and are a critical link in the marine food web. Seagrasses are usually found in shallow water and are very sensitive to water pollution by sediments and nutrients.
Terrestrial foreshore vegetation
Tidal wetlands and macrophytes beds
Wetlands are vegetated areas that are regularly covered by standing water. Many different types of plants and animals are attracted to the water and plant life in wetlands, including birds, platypus, frogs and snakes. Wetlands also acts as natural sponges, absorbing and stilling flood waters and filtering out sediments, nutrients and other pollutants.