Shark Bay, Western Australia, Australia
This site is located in the northwestern part of the state of Western Australia on the Indian Ocean. The islands and surrounding waters combine with the mainland coast to create three unique natural landscapes, including an area of 4,800 km2 that is the world’s largest and most abundant seagrass habitat, unique sea cow (dugong) communities and stromatolites. Stromatolites are layered mounds, columns, and sheet-like sedimentary rocks that form by the growth of layers of cyanobacteria, single-celled photosynthesising microbes that live in a wide range of environments, ranging from shallow shelfs to lakes, rivers, and even soils. The area supports 26 threatened Australian mammal species, more than 230 species of birds, and nearly 150 species of reptiles. The area is an important breeding ground and nursery for fish, crustaceans, and coelenterates. There are more than 323 fish species, with many of them sharks and rays.