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The temperate oceans of New Zealand and southern Australia...

the clear waters of Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Kingdom Chromista

Class Phaeophyceae: Brown Algae

Order Laminariales: Kelps

Family Lessoniaceae 

(Rottnest Island)

Ecklonia radiata 'Common Kelp'.  Can form dense underwater forests. Found from shallow waters down to 25 metres. Widespread in temperate waters of southern hemisphere.

Kingdom Plantae

Order Asimatales

Family Poisidoniaceae

(Rottnest Island)

Posidonia sp. 'Strapweed'. A group of seagrass with a disjunct distribution; they are found in the Mediterranean and in southern Australian waters.

Kingdom Animalia

Phylum Cnidaria: Corals and Sea Jellies

Order Antipatharia: Black Corals

(Milford Sound Underwater Observatory, New Zealand)

Antipathella (previously Antipathes) fiordensis, 'Black Coral'.

Phylum Annelida

Class Polychaeta

Order Sabellida

(Milford Sound Underwater Observatory, New Zealand)

Protula sp. 'Marine Polychaete Worm' 

Phylum Echinodermata: 
'Sea Stars', 'Sea Cucumbers' etc

Family Asteriidae

(Milford Sound Observatory, New Zealand)

Coscinasterias calamaria, 'Eleven-armed Sea-star'. Found along southern Australia and New Zealand shores. 


Family Serrandiae

(Milford Sound Underwater Observatory, New Zealand)

Caesioperca lepidoptera, 'Butterfly/Red Perch'. Found in New Zealand and southern Australian waters.

Family Kyphosidae: 'Sea Chubs', 'Drummers'

(Rottnest Island, Australia)

Kyphosus cornelii, 'Western Buffalo Bream'.

Family Pomacentridae: Damselfish

Rottnest Island)

Pomacentrus milleri, 'Miller's Damselfish'.. Adults uniformly dark dull, with blueish tinge, darker edged scales and lighter blue on edge of fins. Extends into tropical areas of eastern Indian Ocean, where it is often brighter in colour.

Family Labridae: Wrasses

(Milford Sound Underwater Observatory, New Zealand)

Pseudolabrus miles, 'Scarlet Wrasse'. Endemic to New Zealand.

(Milford Sound Underwater Observatory, New Zealand)

Notolabrus fucicola, 'Blue Wrasse'. Found in temperate eastern Australian and New Zealand waters; in the latter region it is the largest wrasse.

(Rottnest Island, Australia)

Coris auricularis, 'Western King Wrasse', juvenile. Found along west Australian coast. When at juvenile stage, often works as a cleaner fish.

Family Monacanthidae

(Milford Sound Underwater Observatory, New Zealand)

 Meuschenia scaber, 'Smooth/Velvet Leatherjacket'.

Class Aves: Birds

Order Charadriiformes

Family Laridae: Terns & Gulls

(Rottnest Island, Australia)

Thalasseus bergii, 'Crested Tern'.

Family Spheniscidae: Penguins

(Fiordland, New Zealand)

Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, 'Fiordland (Crested) Penguin'. Breeding endemic to New Zealand.

Order Procellariiformes; 'the tubenoses'

This order includes the Albatross, Mollymawks, and all the petrels. 

They are distinguished by their nostrils being enclosed in a tube that runs along the bill.

They include the largest of all flying birds; the Great Albatross reach wingspans of 3.6 metres

Family Procellariidae: Prions, Shearwaters, Diving Petrels and various Petrels 

(Mercury, New Zealand)

Pterodroma gouldi, 'Grey-faced Petrel'. Breeding endemic to north island of New Zealand.

(on board Oceanic Discoverer in New Zealand)

Pachyptila vittata, 'Broad-billed Prion'.

(off Tasmania)

Pelecanoides urinatrix, 'Common Diving Petrel'. A tiny seabird that 'flies through waves'. I think Diving Petrels are potatoes with hummingbird wings. Because they only seen in colder oceans usually remote from humans, they are not commonly seen or known by most people. Because they are so small and fast, they are hard to photograph, and indeed even see.

Class Mammalia


(Kaikoura, New Zealand)

Lagenorhynchus obscurus'Dusky Dolphin'.

(New Zealand)

Cephalorhynchus hectori, 'Hector's Dolphin'. The smallest dolphin species in the world. Endemic to bays around the New Zealand coast.

(Kaikoura, New Zealand)

Physeter macrocephalus'Sperm Whale'.

Order Carnivora


Family Otariidae: the 'Eared Seals', including sea lions and fur seals

(Rottnest Island, Australia)

New Zealand Fur Seals often expose their flippers to the sun to warm up.

(Rottnest Island)

Arctocephalus forsteri, 'New Zealand Fur Sea'.  Found around coast of New Zealand and southern Australia.

Places to experience Australasian temperate oceans

The seas off KaikouraMilford Sound Underwater Observatory and Snares Islands, New Zealand.

Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly in the Kimberley with Coral Expeditions (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.