Ninety Mile Beach
The vast, sandy underwater plains off Ninety Mile Beach have the highest species diversity found anywhere on the planet.
This long beach fringed by slender dunes is also the place where Victoria’s cool waters transition to the warm temperate waters of New South Wales.
What are the key natural features of this area?
- Sandy underwater plains, which are the most biologically diverse sediment beds in the world. In a survey of one area 10 square metres, scientists discovered 860 species. This great diversity is derived from a myriad of small creatures that burrow into the sand, build tiny tubes, or scurry around eating scraps of food that may drift by. Larger animals are fewer in number, and constrained in both size and shape.
- Offshore calcarenite reefs. These are home to resilient red seaweeds and encrusting animals such as sponges, ascidians, bryozoans, hydroids and soft coral, which can survive the sandy environment. The unusual soft coral (Pseudogorgia godeffroyi) is only found in this area. These reefs play an important role connecting populations of reef animals from rocky areas around Wilsons Promontory with those of Victoria’s far east.
- Schools of pelagic fish. This is a productive area for fish with many species feed on the seafloor smorgasbord of tiny animals. Schools of pelagic fish like Pike, School Whiting and Snapper are common, and the area appears to be a nursery ground for sharks.
- Ninety mile beach is a significant shorebird breeding habitat.
Marine Protected Areas:
Ninety Mile Beach Marine National Park