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Marine WATERs - Western Australia - Teacher Education Resources Government of Western Australia

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Structural Features

The extraordinary variety of marine and coastal habitats around Western Australia is facsinating – from the mangroves in Broome, fringing coral reefs in Exmouth and seagrass meadows of Shark Bay to the sandy beaches of Perth and the limestone/granite reefs along the south-west coast.

This module provides an insight into how marine habitats function, support diverse marine life and are influenced by the varying physical and environmental conditions of the area.

Lesson Plans

Rainbow Fish: Ocean Zones

Students will learn about the different zones in the ocean and how organisms adapt to survive in these environments.

Who Lives Where?

Students will study the most important marine habitats of Western Australia and their inhabitants.

Habitat Protectors

Students will investigate the role seagrass meadows play in providing an important nearshore habitat for marine organisms. They will also identify risks to the integrity of seagrass communities and investigate improved management strategies.

Coral Reefs

Students will investigate the formation and biology of coral reefs and the diversity of life they support. Students will also understand threats to the health of coral reefs.

Inhabiting Intertidal Rocky Shores

Students will learn about the rocky intertidal zone, the organisms that live there and the challenges they face to survive. The presentations 'Inhabiting the Intertidal' and 'The Intertidal Zone: a reef platform' relate to this lesson plan.

Excursion: Intertidal Investigation

Students will study a reef platform, to identify organisms living on the platform, and provide reasoning as to their distribution.

Sharing a Shell

Students will use the book Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson to learn about rock pools and symbiotic relationships in the marine environment.

Light Up Our Oceans

Students will understand how light affects the biology and ecology of marine life.

Designer Fish

Students discover the adaptations that fish have to help them survive in a wide range of aquatic environments. Students use this knowledge to design their own fish according to different types of habitats.

Welcome back Jack

Students will read the book Jinormous Jack by Josephine Barrymore and illustrated by Steve Dance, and explore the Ningaloo reef ecosystem and biology of whale sharks.

Home Sweet Home

Students will investigate the needs of marine organisms and the role they play in marine ecosystems through a ‘musical chairs’ style game and constructing a habitat diorama.

Estuarine Crocodiles

Students will identify the key features of estuarine crocodiles and recognise how these features enable them to survive and adapt to the aquatic environment of the Kimberley region in Western Australia.

The Tide is High

Students will understand the forces that influence tides and the significance of the Lunar cycle. Students will interpret tidal movement by analysing tidal patterns and predicted tide tables.

Getting Deeper

Students will explore the features and depth profile of the ocean floor through viewing bathymetry maps, diagrams and animations, culminating in the construction of a shoe box model of the ocean floor.

Life in the Mangroves

Through constructing a mangrove ecosystem storyboard, students will explore the function of mangrove ecosystems and how organisms depend on mangroves for food, shelter and lifecycle.

Marine Connections

Students will investigate marine ecosystems by examining the structure of marine food chains and food webs for Shark Bay.


Marine Habitats of Western Australia

This poster explores the myriad of marine habitats found in Western Australia.

Who goes with the flow?

A poster featuring the pathway of the Leeuwin current along the Western Australia coastline.

Living Limestone Reefs

Limestone reefs are nature's stepping stones for a variety of life perched precariously between land and sea.  Learn more about the organisms that inhabit Western Australia's limestone reefs from this poster. Request a physical copy of this poster here.

Case Studies

Monitoring Coral Bleaching on Christmas Island

Coral bleaching is the number one threat to reefs worldwide. In early 2010, a coral bleaching event occurred on Christmas Island for the first time in 15 years.

Fact Sheets

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Black Bream

Black bream is one of the most important recreational and commercial fish species in the estuaries of south-Western Australia. A 'true' estuarine species, black bream complete their whole lifecycle within an estuary and are reliant on healthy rivers and estuaries


An indicator for climate change? The corals of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

Western Fisheries article by Steve Ireland, November 2011, pg. 52-53

Recreational Fishing Frontier

Until 10 or 15 years ago, deepwater species in Western Australia have escped the attention of recreational fishers.  However, anglers armed with large boats and hi-tech fishing gear are pursuing several long-lived species like hapuku and bass groper.  This article

A Reef of Data

Western Fisheries article by C. Anderson, Jul 2010, pg. 38-41. Every time the Western Australian Museum, the Australian Institute of Marine Research, the CSIRO, WA government scientists or any of our universities surveys WA’s northern waters, their findings reinforce the

Assessment of Human Activity Impacts on Abrolhos Reefs

Western Fisheries article, Jan 2008, pg. 48-49

Limestone Kingdoms of Western Australia

Western Fisheries article by C. Amalfi, Dec 2005, pg. 8-13

Rainforests of the Sea

Western Fisheries article by C. Amalfi, Apr 2006, pg. 9-13

Looking Through a Fish Eye Darkly

Western Fisheries article by S. Ireland, Nov 2007, pg. 44-47

Little Drifters are Beacons of Climate Change

Humble though they may seem and occupying a low position in the marine food web, plankton are vital to the health not only of oceans, but also of the world’s atmospheric and terrestrial environments. Increasingly, plankton are also seen by

Race Against Time to Save Coral Reefs

The Australian Coral Reef Society (ACRS) was established 83 years ago. Eloise Dortch attended its annual conference held in Fremantle and found some of its most eminent speakers wondered whether in the future, there would be any coral reefs left

Protecting Species on Intertidal Platforms

Western Fisheries article by F. Wells, J. Keesing and T. Irvine, Jan 2008, pg. 40-41

Masters of Adaptation

A high percentage of fish caught commercially spend some time in mangroves or are dependent on food chains which can be traced back to mangroves. With mangrove cover decreasing worldwide, Carmelo Amalfi reports on the state of Western Australia’s mangal

Deep Mysteries of the Perth Canyon

It is deeper and longer than the Grand Canyon. It attracts hundreds of hungry whales to the Western Australian coast each summer. And it is right off the coast of Perth, just west of Rottnest Island. Carmelo Amalfi delves into

C’mon and Embrace the Smell...

or How Sea Wrack Plays a Vital Role in Raising Fish Seaweed and seagrass washed up on the beach may look unsightly and smell even worse, but they provide a nutritional haven for many marine species. Steve Ireland explains

The Water of Life

Cathy Anderson discovers some astonishing facts about a substance many of us take for granted: sea water, Western Fisheries article by C. Anderson Mar 2009, pg. 50-55

Flowers of the Ocean: WA’s Expansive Seagrass Meadows

Watch the flowers bloom around your home this spring, then imagine the same wonder of nature taking place underwater in fields of seagrasses within snorkelling distance of the Western Australian coast. The shallow coastal beds shared by other unique marine

Finfish Focus

Western Fisheries article by B. Carlish and B. Molony Oct 2010, pg. 42-44

A Delicate Question of Balance

As with humans, the health of Western Australia’s South West estuaries and their fish populations is a balancing act – too much ‘food’ and all sorts of problems, such as algal blooms, can occur. Steve Ireland takes a look at

In Depths

Indian Ocean Territories – In Depth

Referred to as the Indian Ocean Territories (IOTs), the remote location of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is the key to their unique and spectacular marine biodiversity.

Living with the Leeuwin Current – In Depth

At 5,500 kilometres, the Leeuwin Current is the world's longest continuous coastal or boundary current.

Houtman Abrolhos System – In Depth

The Houtman Abrolhos, commonly referred to as "The Abrolhos", consist of 122 islands lying 60 kilometres west of Geraldton on Western Australia's mid-west coast.


Who Lives There?

Explore the range of marine habitats found in Western Australia. This presentation is a resource related to the "Who Lives Where?" Lesson Plan.

Discovering Coral Reefs

Learn about the different types of corals and the organisms inhabiting coral reef environments.

Inhabiting the Intertidal

Learn about the organisms that inhabit our intertidal rocky shores. This presentation is a resource related to the 'Inhabiting Intertidal Rocky Shores' and 'Excursion: Intertidal Investigation' lesson plans.

The Intertidal Zone: a reef platform

Explore the zones of the intertidal zone and learn about the challenges that organisms inhabiting this environment face. This presentation is a resource related to the 'Inhabiting Intertidal Rocky Shores' and 'Excursion: Intertidal Investigation' lesson plans.

Up high... down low

This PowerPoint presentation illustrates the various marine environment from above and below. This is a related resource to the Home Sweet Home lesson plan.

Fish Adaptations

This PowerPoint presentation will assist in identifying various fish adaptations and how they help the fish to survive in their habitat. This is a related resource to the Designer Fish lesson plan. Follow us on Facebook Fisheries Division Woodside Energy