The Botany Bay Ecosystem

Year 8 Science Research Task Semester 2- Banksias and Beyond

Description of the Botany Bay Ecosystem

Botany Bay is located around 13km from the Sydney City Centre in NSW. It is the junction of the Georges River at Taren Point, and the Cooks River at Kyeemagh, and flows 10km to the east to the Tasman Sea. It is situated between Kurnell and La Perouse. It also serves as NSW's main cargo port. Two Sydney Airport runways also extend out into the bay. The area surrounding the bay is managed by Roads and Maritime Services. Some biotic factors prevalent in the Botany Bay ecosystem include omnivores, photosynthesising plants and herbivores that eat the seagrass. Some abiotic factors that are also prevalent in the Botany Bay ecosystem are salinity, temperature, and tidal changes.

Organisms commonly found in Botany Bay

There are many organisms found in the Botany Bay Ecosystem and some of these include:

  1. Pacific Golden Plover ( Wetland Ecosystem)
  2. Black Cormorant ( Wetland Ecosystem)
  3. Whimbrel ( Wetland Ecosystem)
  4. Pygmy Squid ( Seagrass Ecosystem)
  5. Dumpling Squid ( Seagrass Ecosystem)
  6. Sea Hare ( Seagrass Ecosystem)
  7. Pipefish ( Seagrass Ecosystem)
  8. Red- necked stint ( Wetland Ecosystem)

Human Activity in the Botany Bay Ecosystem

In Botany Bay there are many human impacts on the ecosystem, whether we realise it or not. Some impacts include; harming the environment by polluting ( in the form of oil from the refinery nearby), dredging the bay, and impact from human industry ( in the form of the airport and runways nearby). The bay is impacted by the dumping of left over oil from the refinery. We also pump sewage into the bay, which causes the death of wildlife and plants close by. Dredging is also having an impact, by displacing the wildlife on the bottom floor. The dredging is also changing the overall current of flow of water, and forcing some animals out to sea. It is also causing more water to flow to Kurnell rather than Lady Robinsons beach.

There are two airport runways that run into the bay, these runways cause pollution from runoff and impacted the wildlife and plants that have needed to be relocated for the construction of the runways. Botany Bay is also surrounded by main roads carrying large volumes of traffic resulting in air pollution which impacts on migratory birds.

Two Organisms- Sea Hare

Scientific Name: Aplysiomorpha

Description of the Habitat: Sea Hares are normally found on rocks or in rock pools. They are also found in sea grass beds, grazing for algae. Majority of the Sea Hares found in NSW are found in Botany Bay.

Diet: The Sea Hare feeds on algae with their rasping radula. Sea hares are exclusively herbivores feeding on algae, wrack or sea grass. While the Sea Hare eats parts of the plant with its radula, it also eats the algae growing on the actual plant.

Adaptations: If threatened, the Sea Hare will release a purple dye that works as a smoke screen, enabling them to escape from predators. This has helped in their survival by giving them a chance to escape from danger. The common name for the Sea Hare refers to their large tentacles, which were thought to resemble the large ears of a hare. These tentacles, aid the Sea Hare in swimming away from the predators quickly like the action of the octopus. The Sea Hare also releases another ink, that blocks the predators sense of smell. This turns of the predator off their appetite, and also covers them in a sticky coating allowing them to escape.

Two Organisms- Sooty Oystercatcher

Scientific Name: Haematopus fuliginosis

Description of the Habitat: The Sooty Oystercatcher is endemic to Australia and is widespread in coastal eastern, southern and Western Australia. The Sooty Oystercatcher is strictly coastal, and lives within 50m of the sea. It prefers rocky shores, but can be seen on coral reefs or sandy beaches near mudflats. It breeds on offshore islands and isolated rocky headlands.

Diet: The Sooty Oystercatcher feeds on molluscs, crabs and other crustaceans, marine worms, star fish, sea urchins and small fish. It uses its long bill to stab at pray, lever, prise or hammer open food items. It drinks sea water.

Adaptations: The Sooty Oystercatcher produces a loud whistling call when taking flight and a piercing call when disturbed during nesting. This call scares away predators with the piercing shriek turning them away from disturbing the animal. The Sooty Oystercatcher has developed a sturdier bill for the hard shells that it needs to break to obtain food. This is different from the cousin of the Sooty Oystercatcher. Sooty Oystercatchers also make their nests in the ground, away from prying predators, to aid in keeping their offspring alive.

Food Web - Below

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The purple organisms are the tertiary consumers as they are the apex, the yellow organisms are the secondary consumers, the blue organisms are the primary consumers, and the green organisms are the producers. These labels are determined by what they eat and what they are eaten by.

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Arena, P.A, 2014. Core Science Stage 4 . 4th ed. Queensland, Australia: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.


When I was conducting my research I was making sure that my research was reliable by following the following steps:

  1. Used a variety of sources
  2. Made sure that I only used reliable sources recommended, eg not Wikipedia
  3. Not only used websites but reference books as well.
  4. I also cross referenced, using different websites, ensuring that my information was reliable and accurate.

Year 8 Science Semester 2 Assignment 2016 Banksias and Beyond- By Emma Blanch 8 Yellow