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Latitude - Environmental Factors

Australia is half tropical and half temperate. Most marine and shore organisms are either northern or southern in their distribution patterns. Some researchers only recognise this biogeographic pattern.

Graphic of the Biogeographic zones around Australia

In eastern Australia the divide is not at the Tropic of Capricorn, but at latitude 25 deg. south, as a sharp distribution break in the vicinity of Fraser Island.

In Western Australia it occurs in the vicinity of 26 deg. south, with a more diffuse break between northern and southern distributions in the vicinity of Geraldton-Shark Bay.

There are some exceptions to this, with some endemic eastern and endemic western species.

Other researchers consider that there are five biogeographic zones around Australia with the southerly temperate divisions based on water temperature factors, which is influenced by the latitude.


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.


Environmental Factors
Wind Effects
Wave Strength
Tidal Effects

Home Page
Rocky Shores
Tidal Levels
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