Botany Bay

Located south of Sydney, NSW 2019

What is Botany Bay?

Botany Bay is an open oceanic embayment, it is also known for Sting Ray Harbour because of the many beautiful species of sting rays. A fine harbour can be found just a few kilometers from Sydney's central business district. Botany Bay has its own history; The first fleet back in 1770, Lieutenant James Cook arrives in the ship, Endeavor with 2 botanists, Dr. Daniel Solander and Mr. Joseph Banks.

Abiotic and Biotic factors

There are a lot of biotic factors in the ecosystem of Botany Bay for example large fishes, hawks, snakes and the biggest of them all, humans. Abiotic factors in this ecosystem are water, temperature and the biggest of them all is pollution, the main reason why humans are the biggest biotic factor.

8 Organisms in Botany Bay

  • Weedy Sea Dragons
  • Bess Watson flower
  • Salt Cedar
  • Perennial Glasswort
  • Honesuckle
  • Wild blackberries
  • Blue-lined Octopus
  • Dasyatis Brevicaudata/smooth stingray

Human Activity and Impact

Before the First Fleet and the European Settlement, Botany Bay was shallower being no deeper then 15 meter. Airport runways and oil spills from boats did not exist back in the day so fish and many other marine life were very abundant. Metal pollutants are the main problems in the Botany Bay marine life and plantations in the water.

The metal that is damaging the ecosystem of Botany Bay the most is lead. Lead excess in billions of billion bits, this affects; aquatic plants, enzymes needed in photosynthesis, plants will produce less food and aquatic life is now more sensitive to lead, raising the chance of dis-functional and misplaced body parts and also other birth defects.

Another threat to the ecosystem is dredging. Dredging is when water is made deeper by removing the sea floor to accommodate for large ships. In doing so, much of the vegetation is removed, and primary consumers are left with nothing to eat, shattering the ecosystem down below. This also changes the current and water flow, moving nutrients to deeper areas away from organisms.

Organism 1: Blue Lined Octopus

Scientific Name: Hapalochlaena Fasciata

The Blue Lined octopus are one of the four octopus species that live in coral reefs and tidal pools ranging in depth between 0-20 meters. They are found only in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, from Japan to Australia. Their primary habitat is around southern New South Wales, South Australia and some parts of Northern-Western Australia.

The Blue Lined Octopus has a primary diet of crustaceans such as crabs, shrimp and small fishes. These octopuses will feed throughout the day but occasionally they are seen out at night feeding nocturnally. The Blue Lined Octopus uses its beak to bite on their prey and inject neurotoxins through saliva to kill their prey. They have two different types of toxins they have, one for killing and one for defending.

Along with possessing its lethal toxin, which most animals, especialed the octopuses, do not have, the great blue lined octopus has made other adaptations that attribute to its survival. Like many other of its kind, the blue lined octopuse adapted chromatophores that allow them to blend into their surroundings. Chromatophores are specialized cells that some organisms, like some types of lizards which utilize it to either camouflage from predators or sneak up to capture their prey. Although the blue does not change colour, the rest of the animals body will fade into the background. Even locating the eyes of the octopus when it is camouflaged is difficult.

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Organism 2: Weedy Sea Dragons

Scientific Name: Phyllopteryx Taeniolatus

Weedy Sea Dragons are one of only two species of seadragon, the second is known as the leafy sea dragon. Inhabiting coastal waters between 0-45 meters deep, the weedy seadragons are associated with rocky reefs, seaweed beds, seagrass meadows and structure colonized by seaweed. Weedy Sea Dragons live in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They live all around Australia.

Weedy Sea Dragons lack the ability to use teeth so they use the powerful suction generated by their long, thin, tubular snout to draw water and prey into their mouths. Special muscles in the mouth can widen it to capture different sizes of food, including plankton, larval fish and small shrimp-like crustaceans.

Weedy sea dragons have a lot of adaptations. They have appendages growing from their bodies giving them a weed-like appearance, this makes it near impossible for the potential predators to find them when they are hiding near reefs and corals. The rows of spine helps protect them from predators. The fins it has helps the weedy sea dragon propel itself, the pectoral fins located of the side of their necks are there to help maintain balance, they use their long dorsal fins to propel themselves forward.

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Food web

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Year 8 Red: Matthew Yang