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Australia is divided into two major regions, a Tropical northern and a Temperate southern region.

Around Australia there are five major Biogeographic Zones which can be used to describe the distribution of most intertidal animals and algae.

Map of the Biogeographic Zones of Australia

In the Tropical Region , the Western Tropical Zone extends from Shark Bay across northern Australia to Cape York in Queensland, and the Eastern Tropical Zone extends from from Cape York down the Queensland coast to Fraser Island.

In the Temperate Region, the Western Warm Temperate Zone extends from near Shark Bay around south-western Australia and across southern Australia to Cape Otway in Victoria, and north-western Tasmania. The Eastern Warm Temperate Zone extends from Fraser Island down the New South Wales coastline to Cape Otway in Victoria, including north-eastern Tasmania.

Superimposed across the Victorian shores, surrounding Tasmania and extending across South Australian shores is a Cool Temperate Zone with animals and algae suited to more cooler waters.


Bennett, I. (1987) W. J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. p. 3-12, Angus & Robertson, Sydney.

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.8, New Holland, Sydney.


Eastern Warm Temperate
Western Warm Temperate
Cool Temperate
Eastern Tropical
Western Tropical

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Intertidal Zonation
Environmental Factors
Biological Factors
Feeding Relationships



photo of Keith DaveyLife on Australian Seashores
by Keith Davey (C) 2000

Learning Consultant - Media
The University of Newcastle

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Scientific Consultant: Phil Colman
site created 01.01.98 : updated 01.04.2000