Subtidal other habitat forming biota
Subtidal gardens dominated by benthic macroinvertebrates including sponges, bryozoans, polychaetes, ascidians, hydroids or zooanthids.
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.
Subtidal gardens dominated by other benthic macroinvertebrates including sponges, bryozoans, polychaetes, ascidians, hydroids or zooanthids. Density of these ecosystems is highly variable and they may co-occur in association with other ecosystems such as seagrass meadows, soft coral gardens, gravels, muds and sands, or consolidated ecosystems. There may be evidence of Infauna utilisation, (e.g. mounds, burrows, other forms of bioturbation, tubes). Depending on the proportions of Octocorallians, these ecosystems may grade into the reefal gardens ecosystem types (98, 117). Depending on the proportion of algae that is present, they may grade into algal-dominated unconsolidated ecosystems (54, 55, 59 or 61).
High densities of other habitat forming biota are biodiverse and add to the three dimensional structure of the sea floor.
Sponge gardens in particular are high diversity ecosystems providing living space for a range of sessile and mobile fauna, notably fish dependent on sponges and other biota for food. These gardens usually have a high diversity of sponge species and growth forms.
Structural macrobiota (any of the following) 'Sponges', 'Ascidians', 'Crinoids', 'Tubeworms', 'Bryozoans', 'Barnacles', 'Other fauna', 'Other flora'
Period and Trend qualifiers are also relevant, as the dominant biota may vary between years and seasons. Depending on the cover of octocorallians or algae, these ecosystems may switch to other types (see above).
Likely to occur throughout Queensland subtidal waters, in a range of different locations.
The following relates to distribution of this ecosystem type within the Central Queensland mapping area:
Consider also Consolidation and Sediment texture for predicting where the different densities of habitat forming biota occur. Energy source and Energy magnitude relevant as filter feeders such as sponges rely on high current energy to extract their food. Further work and especially inventory is required to better characterise these ecosystems. Offshore inventory within the Great Barrier Reef lagoon has determined broad patterns of biota generally outside State coastal waters (including other habitat forming biota). Terrain morphology may be relevant as these ecosystem types may be associated with swales or depressions (Stevens, pers. comm.).
Last updated: 22 July 2019
This page should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2019) Subtidal other habitat forming biota, WetlandInfo website, accessed 27 October 2023. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/ecology/aquatic-ecosystems-natural/estuarine-marine/descriptions/62/