Bribie Island

Ecology of Moreton Bay’s marine life

Ecology of Moreton Bay’s marine life

A paradise on Brisbane’s doorstep, Moreton Bay is a huge sub-tropical lagoon which supports diverse and abundant marine life with year-round sightings of dolphins and dugongs, along with winter visitors including humpback whales.


Two species of dolphins, the Australian humpback dolphin and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin inhabit Moreton Bay all year round. These dolphins are not only important to sustain a functioning ecosystem, but also economically and culturally valuable. The Quandamooka people (Aboriginal Australians who live around Moreton Bay) have shared a strong connection with the dolphins for generations.


Dugongs are considered an endangered species and are protected in the waters of Moreton Bay. Being the world’s only fully vegetarian marine mammals and the only sea cow in Australian waters, dugongs hold a special place among Moreton Bay’s marine life. Australian dugong habitats span from Shark Bay in Western Australia to Moreton Bay, also extending to north Queensland. It is believed there are 80,000 dugongs in Australian waters with approximately 14,000 off the coast of Queensland.

Humpback Whales

At a maximum length of 16 metres, the humpback is not the largest whale found in Australian waters, but it is arguably the most iconic. This species was hunted for its once highly valued oil and baleen, or ‘whalebone,’ until whaling ceased in Australia in 1978 when international treaties were signed by most whaling countries. Each year between June and October, Australia’s eastern coastline comes alive with the spectacular acrobatic displays of humpback whales. After a summer of feeding on krill in Antarctic waters, these charismatic animals migrate north to sub-tropical waters where they mate and give birth.

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