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Benthic ecosystems include the sea floor, the water column up to 1m and any bottom-dwelling organisms. The substrate consists predominately of sand and slit and flora are represented primarily by macro-algae and micro-algae.



Coastal Ecosystems


What ecosystem functions do benthic ecosystems perform?


The flat bodies of sting rays agitate the sand in benthic ecosystems providing camouflage from predators or hiding them from prey.


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Table 1 below presents the relative magnitude benthic ecosystems perform different ecosystem functions (relative to other ecosystems) in SEQ.

Table 1:The relative magnitude (to other Ecosystem Reporting Categories) benthic ecosystems perform each ecosystem function.

Ecosystem Function Category Ecosystem Function 0
Regulating Functions
Gas Regulation            
Climate Regulation            
Disturbance Regulation            
Water Regulation            
Soil Retention            
Nutrient Regulation            
Waste Treatment and Assimilation            
Biological Control            
Barrier Effect of Vegetation            
Supporting Functions
Supporting Habitats            
Soil Formation            
Provisioning Functions
Raw Materials            
Water Supply            
Genetic Resources            
Provision of Shade and Shelter            
Pharmacological Resources            
Cultural Functions
Landscape Opportunity            


What is the area and extent of benthic ecosystems in SEQ?


Soldier crabs process sand extracting micro-algae and detritus food.

Links to other publications and websites

Wikipedia - Benthic Zone
USGS - Benthic Ecosystems
Glover - Temporal Change in Benthic Ecosystems

Open water - benthic ecosystems cover approximately 16 402 km2 of SEQ. This map shows benthic ecosystems cover most of the SEQ coast. In open water ecosystems, benthic ecosystems occur at all depths but this ecosystem itself is found within 1m of the substrate.


What is the vulnerability and threats to benthic ecosystems in SEQ?


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How do we manage benthic ecosystems in SEQ?


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