Lord Howe Island Marine Park
Lord Howe Island is located approximately 600 km east of the NSW north coast and occurs on the western edge of the Lord Howe Rise. Lord Howe Island and nearby Balls Pyramid are remnants of extinct volcanos at the southern end of a seamount chain extending for 1000 kilometres along the Lord Howe Rise.
The Lord Howe Island Marine Park was declared in 1999 and is the largest marine protected area off the NSW coast. The Marine Park is also part of the Lord Howe Island World Heritage Area, that was declared in 1982 in recognition of the Islands outstanding biological diversity – the first in NSW.
As a result of the alternating influences of warm and cool currents, the Lord Howe Island marine environment contains a unique mix of tropical, subtropical and temperate marinefauna and flora and is the world’s southernmost true coral reef. The marine park is very distinctive compared to the NSW coast and supports a large number of species not found anywhere else in NSW and is characterised by a variety of unique habitats. These include the only barrier coral reef and associated sheltered lagoon in NSW, fringing reefs, sandy beaches, intertidal and subtidal rocky reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, shelf habitats, deep seamount slopes, and open waters, all of which support distinct groups of plants and animals
A total of 86 species of hard coral have been recorded and this number is remarkably high considering the latitude of the park, the small reef size and its isolation from other major coral communities. In addition, levels of coral cover in some areas reach values as high as those reported for tropical reefs.
More than 500 species of fishes occur in the park, including at least 15 endemic species such as the ballina angelfish, McCulloch's anemonefish and the doubleheader wrasse.
More than 1500 species of molluscs (snails and shellfish) occur in the park, and at least 110 species of echinoderms and 70 species of crustaceans.
Lord Howe Island is recognised as one of the richest localities for green macroalgae in Australia relative to its size, and around 318 species of marine algae have been recorded in the marine park.
Endangered hawksbill and vulnerable green sea turtles occur amongst the diverse seagrass and coral areas in the park. Bottlenose dolphins are frequently seen further offshore and larger whales such as humpback whales are seen seasonally. Lord Howe Island is well known as a major seabird breeding site, with 14 species nesting within the region. There are 12 known historical shipwrecks in the park.
Lord Howe Island Marine Park Education Kit Downloads
Introduction 1.19 MB
Module 3: Estuaries 2.60 MB
Module 4: Sea Country 1.41 MB
Please contact us to request a copy of the education kit on CD-Rom or for further information about taking your students on a marine parks school excursion. The CD-Rom includes resources for all six marine parks.