Roughly 10,000 years ago cyanobacteria started building up stromatolites in the southern section of the bay. This section of the bay, known as Hamelin Pool, holds the most abundant and diverse collection of stromatolites on Earth.
Evidence suggests that these stromatolites may have also evolved a form of chlorophyll unlike anything else on earth. The bay itself remains fairly shallow since the depth averages 33 ft (10 m). It also covers an area of about 3,861 sq. mi (1o,000 sq. km).
Shark Bay Flora
Shark Bay has an extremely hot, dry climate which has led to the development of a unique environment. The sea water of the bay measures about twice as salty as the surrounding ocean, which is the ideal environment for seagrass.
Shark Bay also possesses both the largest known single area of seagrass and the greatest number of species in one location. This seagrass covers an area of around 1,853 sq. mi (4,800 sq. km). There are also 12 different species of seagrass present in the bay.
Sediment and fragments of discarded shells built up in these beds over time, which has actually raised the floor of the bay, causing it to be as shallow as it is.
Shark Bay Fauna
Shark Bay forms an area of extreme zoological importance. The climate and prevalence of seagrass make it a primary breeding and feeding ground for many species. Nearly 10,000 dugongs call the Bay home. This equals roughly 13% of all dugongs on the planet.
More than 230 species of birds also live in the bay, and more than 150 types of reptiles reside in Shark Bay. There are also 26 types of mammals living there, all of which rank as threatened species.
Several hundred types of fish live in the waters of the bay, as well. These draw huge numbers of rays and sharks, hence the name of the bay. Shark Bay also serves as the single largest nesting site for two species of endangered sea turtle.
Two species of whales even use the bay as a gathering spot, during their migrations.