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Estuarine ecology

Esturarine wetlands are located in areas where a river, or other freshwater source, meets the sea. They provide an important habitat for a range of species. Many commercial species such as fish, crabs, prawns etc. start their life in estuarine areas. Mangroves are usually the most common vegetation as they are specially designed to deal with the high levels of salt found in the water and the often water-logged environment. These areas are also important when it comes to protecting the coastline from storm surges, cyclones etc.

Long Island, Photo by Cathy Ellis

Quick facts

Brisbane River
is the longest estuary in South East Queensland. Over time, removing the sand bar at the mouth of the river and long-term dredging has increased the oceans tidal reach to nearly 90km upstream[1].

Queensland Intertidal and Subtidal ecosystems

For more information see Intertidal and Subtidal (Estuarine and Marine ecology)


The OzCoasts website provides conceptual diagrams depicting estuarine wetland processes, threats and stressors, including a range of geomorphic conceptual models for each of the seven types of Australian estuaries and coastal waterways. The descriptions supporting these diagrams also contain extensive amounts of useful information.

Additional information


  1. ^ SEQ Healthy Waterways Partnership, (2010). Estuaries are viable and valuable - pdf on site taken down [Accessed 30 August 2012].

Last updated: 10 April 2017

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2017) Estuarine ecology, WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation