ABOUT BEACH HABITATS
Beach habitats are very important areas because they provide habitat for many species including worms, crabs and shorebirds and nesting sites for turtles and also absorb wave energy to protect the land form the ocean's waves.
Beaches erode where the sand is being carried out to the ocean meaning there is less sand on the beach. This is a natural cycle where waves transport sand out, but bring it back as conditions change. However, human activity can interrupt this natural cycle in several ways and have permanent erosion of the beach.
Many animals, such as sea turtles, live in the ocean but they need the beach to lay eggs in the nest they dig and for the baby turtles to safely hatch and scuttle down to the relative safety of the ocean. It’s important for us to remember that we share this habitat with some very special creatures! Beach erosion can mean loss of turtle habitat so we need to be careful to avoid doing things that erode and damage our beach and dune habitats.
We can help to protect coastal habitats by picking up litter, keeping dogs on leash (and picking up their poo!), not chasing animals, reporting any injured wildlife to a local rescue service, and walking on the wet sand rather than dry (some birds like to lay their eggs in dry sand).
SPOTLIGHT: SEA TURTLES
There are seven different species of marine turtles (binkin), six of which are found in Queensland waters!
In Moreton Bay there are about 10,000 Green Sea Turtles and 2,000 Loggerhead Turtles. Turtles can live to be over 100 years old, but only start breeding when they are 30-50 years of age, meaning they have a long, slow life cycle and take a long time to make babies.
One of the amazing things about sea turtles is that they travel across enormous areas of the ocean, but when they are ready to lay their eggs they find their way back to the very same beach where they were born!
The female turtles make their way onto the beach to bury their eggs deep in the sand. It’s important that these eggs are laid above the high tide point to keep them dry.
Unfortunately, damage or disturbance of the beach habitat can make it difficult for turtles to reach this point and they lay their eggs where they can get wet or washed out to sea.
However, scientists are doing wonderful work through research and intervention to better understand turtle behaviour and improve their habitats.