Situated at the doorstep of the city of Melbourne, Port Phillip is a large bay approximately 60 km in diameter. This body of seawater has an area of almost 2,000 sq. km. and a shoreline of around 260 km. It is relatively shallow for most of its area, with over half being less than eight metres deep.
Port Phillip opens to the sea through the relatively narrow “Rip”, a 1.5 kilometre opening between the “Heads” of Point Nepean and Point Lonsdale. The bay’s saucer-like shape means that different regions are exposed to very different wave action, current regimes and nutrient levels. At its entrance, tidal water movements in and out of the bay generate strong currents of up to eight knots through a deep gorge-like valley that drops to 90 metres deep. Elsewhere protected waters such as in Swan Bay trap sediments and enable growth of extensive seagrass and algal meadows.
The rich and diverse habitats of Port Phillip are home to a huge array of marine animals and plants. The Port Phillip Taxonomic Toolkit provides information, data, images and tools to help identify, document and monitor the rich marine animal life of this bay. It is the product of collaboration between the Victorian State Government, the Department of Sustainability and Environment, and Museum Victoria.
The species included on this site occur within Port Phillip, the Heads of the bay or nearby coastline. The dataset is based on CSIRO’s Port Phillip Environmental Study, Museum Victoria collection records and knowledge from Museum staff and external consultants. Read more
Museums do not collect from all possible locations so data displayed may underestimate the actual values for a given species, or they may not have recorded all species from Port Phillip. The collections also include historical records, so the data may indicate information about a species that is no longer found in Port Phillip.
Museum Victoria would like to acknowledge two partnerships for their significant contributions to the content of this website: Parks Victoria (through its "Under the Lens" partnership) and the Marine Research Group of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria.
Web development and design
Video sources and editing
Roger Fenwick (Parks Victoria)