The Flinders Marine Bioregion*
The Flinders Marine Bioregion encompasses the eastern entrance to Bass Strait including Wilsons Promontory, Flinders Island and other Bass Strait islands (excluding the Kent Group of Islands).
What characteristics distinguish this bioregion?
- Rocky headlands and promontories are prevalent with long sandy beaches between.
- Moderate to low ocean swell, with higher swells on the east-facing shores of Flinders Island.
- Wave height is highly variable. It is significantly higher on the western side of Wilsons Promontory compared to the eastern side that is protected from the dominant south-west ocean swell.
- High tidal range - up to 3m.
- Strong tidal currents, particularly between closely-spaced islands.
- Sea-surface temperature is representative of Bass Strait waters.
- The depth of water increases rapidly as you move away from shore.
- Granite reefs with smooth surfaces.
- Reefs have a dense and diverse cover of seaweed species, particularly coralline seaweeds, while deeper reefs have dense communities of sponges, sea whips and soft corals.
- The diversity of fish and seaweed species is high when compared with Tasmanian marine bioregions.
What are some of the significant natural values of the bioregion?
- Wilsons Promontory's magnificent sponge ‘gardens' and abundant diversity of reef fish.
- Kanowna Island near Wilsons Promontory is a significant breeding area for Australian Fur Seals Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus.
Marine Protected Areas in the region
Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park
Wilsons Promontory Marine Park
* What is a marine bioregion?
A marine bioregion is a large area of the sea that, through the complex interaction of ocean currents, wave energy, seawater temperature, seafloor geology and geography, displays a distinct grouping or pattern of marine plant and animal communities and species.
For example, the plant and animal species and the habitats that dominate the warm waters of the Twofold bioregion in eastern Victoria are very different to those found in the cold, open waters of the Otway bioregion in the west.
The map on the home page suggests that marine bioregions appear to be divided into distinct areas with clearly defined boundaries, but the boundaries between them are dynamic and not hard lines.
The ocean waters on Australia's continental shelf have been classified into 60 marine bioregions. Victoria's coastal waters span 5 of these regions.