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Seagrasses are flowering plants, not seaweed and not true grasses. Their closest relatives are lilies and orchids. Seagrasses need sunlight, clear water and nutrients to grow. They often rely on nutrients from nearby mangroves. The Great Sandy Marine Park protects at least 2500km2 of seagrass habitat. Dugongs and green turtles feed directly on seagrass but many more species live in seagrass beds. Small fish, seahorses, prawns and shellfish use seagrass meadows to shelter from predators, direct sunlight and extreme temperature changes.
Extensive seagrass meadows in the marine park grow on sand and mud from intertidal areas to a depth of 32 m.
Some of the seagrass habitats in the marine park include:
- Burrum River – extensive meadows on the flats on the southern side of the river mouth
- Platypus Bay – deep water seagrass meadows
- Hervey Bay – subtidal meadows at the top of the Great Sandy Strait to Dayman Bank and adjacent Urangan township out to near fairway buoy
- Point Vernon to Woongarra – dynamic subtidal meadows along the coastline
- Great Sandy Strait – numerous dynamic meadows both intertidal and subtidal including at Poona, Boonooroo, Kauri Creek and Tin Can Bay.
Read more about seagrasses.
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