Warm water coral moving south to Tasmania

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Landscape of the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia, 2018. (AP)

Warm water corals are colonising Tasmanian reefs as climate change pushes up temperatures in the Bass Strait, a study has found.

University of Tasmania scientists found the corals moved in after sea urchins ate out native kelp beds, leaving the reefs free of weed and ready for them to inhabit.

"We are seeing a wide range of northern reef (coral) species extending to northern and eastern Tasmania and, in some cases, wholesale changes in the reef ecosystems as sea life responds to rising temperatures," marine biologist Dr Scott Ling said on Monday.

© AAP 2018