ABOUT OCEAN HABITATS
Seagrasses are a group of plant species that grow in shallow marine environments.
Seagrass is a flowering plant (just like those on land) unlike seaweed, which is a different type of plant called algae.
There are over 60 species of seagrass, but they are at risk due to sediment runoff, overfishing, pollution and natural disasters. We have already lost 29% of the world’s seagrass habitats!
It’s important that we protect seagrasses because they produce lots of oxygen, stabilise the seabed with their roots, provide food for animals such as dugongs and turtles, and provide habitat and breeding grounds for animals such as fish, crabs and shellfish.
Coral reefs are found in shallow areas of tropical and sub-tropical oceans in clear waters generally between 20°C and 28°C. Reefs usually start growing in areas with lots of waves which carry food, nutrients and oxygen to the slowly forming reef.
Coral reefs give food, oxygen and a home to many of the sea creatures that we love! The structure of a coral reef habitat is very complex and can provide homes for species including fish, shellfish, crustaceans (like crabs), echinoderms (like sea stars), sea sponges, worms, algae, hard and soft coral, sea snakes, turtles, sharks and rays!
This habitat also works as a cleaning station for animals such as turtles and manta rays. When these bigger animals approach the reef, they signal that it’s time for the cleaning fish to do their job and start cleaning them!
Check out the videos below to see these interesting cleaning stations.
Coral reefs are vulnerable to the effects of human activities. We have already lost 10% of the worlds reefs from pollution, irresponsible fishing, tourism, and global warming.
Did you know that Moreton Bay has more than 120 species of coral? That's more than the Caribbean!
There are five different ocean zones which are determined by how deep the ocean is.
One of these is the upper zone where some of our favourite animals such as whales, dolphins (boangun), jellyfish, turtles and sharks like to swim. They often use this zone
to migrate long distances between different parts of the oceans as the weather changes with the seasons or between feeding areas and breeding areas.
The open ocean also includes the deepest areas where there is very little sunlight and animals have to make their own light (bioluminescence) to be able to see.
There are even volcanoes in the ocean… in fact, there are more volcanoes on the ocean floor than there are on land! Most of these volcanoes are found in a big area in the Pacific Ocean named ‘The Ring of Fire.’
Sadly, even though the open oceans are generally far from where humans live, our pollution reaches far into the upper zone, including the 'giant garbage patches' and the sea floor of the deepest zone.