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Wooramel Seagrass Bank, Carnarvon, WA, Australia

Photographs None
List Register of the National Estate (Non-statutory archive)
Class Natural
Legal Status Registered (21/03/1978)
Place ID 10785
Place File No 5/14/191/0003
Statement of Significance
Of international significance the Wooramel Seagrass Bank is one of the largest bodies of carbonate sediment formed by an organic baffle yet recorded from an extant baffle. The seabank is the largest structure of its kind in the world, with the only comparable deposits being the seagrass bound mattes on the Mediterranean coast of France. The bank structure is a major part of the internationally significant Shark Bay region. The seagrass bank forms an important element of the nutrient cycles of the marine biota of the bay. The seagrass communities of the Wooramel Bank are one of the most diverse communities of their kind in the world with thirteen species represented. Usually such communities are comprised of one to four species. The bank supports a rich and diverse marine fauna in a variety of habitats providing an important nursery for juvenile fish, crustaceans and echinoderms. The seagrass beds provide essential foraging grounds for the dugong (DUGONG DUGON) an endangered species. The Shark Bay population is one of the only two remaining in the world known to number in excess of 500 individuals. The seagrass bank is the main benchmark for research into carbonate banks, seagrass and other baffles on a world wide basis. Documentation on the banks has become the standard works for research in these fields. The area has high scientific research potential in the fields of oceanography, sedimentology and marine biology.
Official Values Not Available
Description
The Wooramel Seagrass Bank forms a shallow marginal platform along the eastern shore of Shark Bay. The bank is 129km long with an average width of 8km. The bank is the largest structure of its kind in the world. The bank's structure is a wedge shaped body of sediment, composed mainly of biogenic carbonate debris mixed with terrigenous detrital grains. The seagrasses act as organic baffles and also provide habitats for organisms which contribute skeletal carbonate. Fifty-four tidal channels are the main paths for tidal waters across the intertidal and sublittoral zones. The Wooramel Bank contains a variety of marine habitats including wide sublittoral and intertidal sandflats inhabited by molluscan communities, extensive mangrove or algal mat communities in the intertidal and supratidal zones and channel levees and floors populated by seagrass communities. The Wooramel Bank was documented in the early 1970s by Davies in a paper that has become the standard reference for research on carbonate banks, seagrasses and organic baffles. It remains the main field reference for scientific purposes. The bank structure is a major part of the Shark Bay ecosystem. Its southern parts are nurseries for juvenile fish, crustaceans and echinoderms. It is probable that the seagrass forms an important element in the nutrient cycles of marine biota throughout the bay. The seagrass communities are the most diverse in the world with three major species and ten minor species present. Large areas are dominated by CYMODOCEA and POSIDONIA support a prolific and varied assemblage of shell secreting organisms. Gastropods, polychaete worms and crustaceans inhabit the shelter areas between the plants. The AMPHIBOLIS and HALODULE seagrass beds of the Wooramel River Delta are believed to provide essential foraging grounds for dugongs in summer. The existence of these nutritious beds could be crucial to the survival of the region's dugong population.
History Not Available
Condition and Integrity
Condition and integrity intact.
Location
About 103,000ha on the eastern shore of Shark Bay, 10km west of Carnarvon.
Bibliography
DAVIES, G.R. 1970 A RECENT SEAGRASS BANK, SHARK BAY, WESTERN AUSTRALIA. IN LOGAN ET.AL 'CARBONATE SEDIMENTATION AND ENVIRONMENTS, SHARK BAY, W.A.'
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PETROLEUM GEOL 'MEMOIR 13: 85-168.

CONSERVATION THROUGH 1974 'CONSERVATION RESERVES IN WESTERN AUST
RESERVES COMMITTEE - REPORT TO THE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION
AUTHORITY' EPA, PERTH.

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION 1975 'CONSERVATION RESERVES IN WESTERN AUST
AUTHORITY AS RECOMMENDED BY THE EPA FOR CONSERVATION RESERVES IN W.A. SYSTEMS: 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,11,12' EPA, PERTH.

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION 1982 'STATUS OF RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE EPA
AUTHORITY FOR CONSERVATION RESERVES IN WESTERN
AUSTRALIA SYSTEMS: 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10, 11, 12'. EPA, PERTH.

STATE PLANNING 1987 'SHARK BAY REGIONAL PLAN' DEPARTMENT
AUTHORITY OF CONSERVATION AND LAND MANAGEMENT,
PERTH.

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION 1987 'IMPLICATIONS OF THE SHARK BAY REGION
AUTHORITY PLAN FOR CONSERVATION IN SYSTEM 9 - REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF TH EPA' EPA BULLETIN 305, NOV, 1987,EPA, PERTH

HALL, C.M. 1987 'SHARK BAY: THE PRESERVATION OF ITS WORLD HERITAGE VALUES: A REPORT TO THE AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE COMMISSION', DEPT GEOGRAPHY, UNIVERSITY OF WA. NEDLANDS.

1995-96. "Southern Western Australia seagrass study". Murdoch University. Institute for Environmental Science. NEGP Report.

Report Produced  Tue Jul 29 13:38:45 2014