Amazing deep ocean canyons are found along the continental margin and at Macquarie Island, providing habitat for a diverse range of species, from the smaller species such as deep water corals, sea urchins, sponges, fish and crabs, each with their bizarre and wonderful adaptations for survival in the deep, up to the massive migratory blue whales.
Why is the South-East Marine Region Important?
The marine life of the south-east marine region is diverse and globally recognised for its high level of endemism – species found nowhere else on this earth. In fact around 85% of the known fish and 62% of the seafloor flora are considered endemic.
The characteristics of the currents have prevented the migration of species for millennia. This has created an environment where species have evolved over time and are now found nowhere else on the planet. Amazing deep sea canyons are found along the continental margin providing habitat for a diverse range of species, including deep water corals, sea urchins, sponges and a diverse range of fish and crabs with bizarre and wonderful adaptations for survival in the deep.
To the south and east of Tasmania a group of seamounts rise from the sea floor, some as high as 4,000 metres. Seamounts are generally areas of higher productivity. They act as obstacles to deep ocean currents restricting and intensifying their flow. These accelerated currents sweep the seamounts clear of sediment and create a perfect environment for corals and other bottom-dwelling species. This provides a consistent and relatively rich food source for ocean wildlife.
The Macquarie Island Marine Park is located to the east of Macquarie Island. The reserve includes important feeding and breeding sites for fur seals, penguins and migratory seabirds like the albatross. Macquarie Island is a hub for scientific research. The Research Station or, “Macca”, was established in 1911 as the first radio link between Australia and Antarctica, and now has a large focus on biology, geosciences, meteorology, and human impact on the environment.
Region Size Statistics
The south-east Marine Region extends from the far south coast of New South Wales, across Victoria, around Tasmania,and to South Australia. It includes the Commonwealth waters of Bass Strait and the waters surrounding Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean. This is a network of Commonwealth marine parks and comprises 14 marine parks and covers more than 388 000 km².