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Other habitat-forming intertidal biota

Short description

Intertidal community dominated by habitat-forming fauna such as bryozoans, sponges, tubeworms, crinoids and/or ascidians.

Disclaimer: Ecosystem type descriptions are based on biophysical attributes identified in Central Queensland through expert advice and supported by scientific literature. Not all ecosystem types are mapped based on current inventory, and many of the ecosystems described here may also occur in other parts of Queensland.

Sea squirts or cunjevoi <em>Pyura</em>. Photo by Sven Lavender, Queensland Government

Classification categories

Select from the links below to view related ecosystem type categories

Long description

Intertidal community dominated by habitat-forming fauna on any type of substrate (i.e. unassigned), and also consolidated substrates of carbonate platform, rock base, pavement or boulders, or intermediate coffee rock. Communities are dominated by biota other than seagrass, macroalgae, mangroves, saltmarsh, corals, oysters and barnacles, and typically include a low density, high species diversity mixed community of fauna, such as sponges, ascidians, crinoids, tubeworms and/or bryozoans, that is, reefal gardens not dominated by hard or soft coral.

Special values

Reefal gardens can provide substantial habitat for mobile fauna, such as fishes, in an otherwise structure-less environment.

Diagnostic attributes

Inundation 'Intertidal – Lower low', 'Intertidal – Mid low', 'Intertidal – Upper low', 'Intertidal – Low undifferentiated', 'Intertidal – Lower medium', 'Intertidal – Upper-medium', 'Intertidal – Medium undifferentiated', 'Intertidal – High', 'Intertidal – Undifferentiated', 'Intertidal – High undifferentiated', although typically found below mean sea level and closer to lowest astronomical tide level.

Structural macrobiota 'Other biota – sponges', 'Other biota – ascidians', 'Other biota – crinoids', 'Other biota – tubeworms', 'Other biota – bryozoans', 'Other biota – other biota', 'Other biota – flora and fauna'


None mapped, however Period and Trend qualifiers are relevant, as intertidal reefal gardens are highly spatially and temporally variable and their extremely low density may lead to being overlooked.


Substantially under-mapped due to lack of inventory.


Depending on the consolidation, this ecosystem usually occurs as a co-type of other ecosystems, at low densities, including:

  • as a subdominant community on consolidated substrates without dominant biota identified (e.g. rocky shores) or with dominant biota identified (e.g. coral ecosystems)
  • on intermediate sediments (e.g. coffee rock reef)
  • on unconsolidated sediments (e.g. gravel, including coral rubble, duricrust fragments etc)
  • in seagrass meadows on unconsolidated substrate (e.g. Great Sandy Strait) where density becomes insubstantial, grades into either seagrass ecosystems or unconsolidated ecosystems.

Additional Information

Molluscs - Museum of Tropical Queensland

Shellfish Reef Restoration Network

Last updated: 22 July 2019

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2019) Other habitat-forming intertidal biota, WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation