The Great Barrier Reef is the largest and most complex reef system in the world and one of the most complex and biodiverse natural systems on Earth. The Reef covers an area of 344 400 square kilometres. It is made up of thousands of individual coral reefs and hundreds of island and coral cays. The reef has over 1500 species of fish, 400 species of coral, 4000 species of mollusc, 800 species of echinoderm and 240 species of birds. It stretches more than 2000 km along the North-East coast of Australia and is one of the only natural structures that can be seen from the moon.
It has waters with alluring hues of turquoise and aqua marine, an undersea world of colours that artists only ever dream about. The Great Barrier Reef is of such great condition that it was listed by the World Heritage Trust as a protected site which means it is managed and taken care of by the Great Barrier Reef marine authority to make sure that its beauty is maintained for many more generations to come. As we hope!
Visitors in thier thousands come to admire the beautiful scenery and the spectacular sight. More than 2,000,000 people visit the reef each year generating more than $AU 2 billion in tourism dollars, making tourism a major earner for the north-eastern Australian economy.
The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2300 kilometres. It is a series of reefs and islands. It contains about 2900 individual reefs, 618 continental islands
And 300 small sand islands which are called coral cays.
The reef is built on a foundation of coral which is a hard substance made of limestone. Coral provides many things to animals living in a coral reef. It usually is shelter to the small fish, also a hiding place for predators or even food for some animals.
... reefs? Scientists generally divide coral reefs into four classes: fringing reefs, barrier reefs, atolls and patch reefs. Fringing reefs grow near the coastline around islands ... species that live in coral reefs, but only a fraction actually produces the limestone that builds the reef. Coral reefs ... ter's surface forming a 'barrier' to navigation. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the most ...
The Great Barrier Reef, according to scientists, has existed for more than
18 million years. However, the current coral there is much younger, dating back only 18 000 years
Corals make up various reefs & cays. These are the basis for the great variety of sea and animal life in the reef.
Coral consists of individual coral polyps (tiny live creatures which join together to form colonies).
Each polyp lives inside a shell of aragonite, a type of calcium carbonate which is the hard shell we recognize as coral. The polyps join together to create forests of coloured coral in interesting fan, antler, brain and plate shapes.
There are many different types of coral, some are slow growing and live to be hundreds of years old, others are faster growing.
The colours of coral are created by algae. Only live coral is coloured. Dead coral is white.
One of the greatest dangers to the habitat is the Crown Of Thorns starfish. Since the 1960s, the Crown Of Thorns has been destroying the corals which make up the reef.
The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea. It extends for some 2300 km along the North Eastern coast of Australia from a point level with the tip of the York peninsula on the Torres Strait to just south of the
Tropic of Capricorn. It extends beyond the low water mark 60 to 290km from the coast.
The Great Barrier Reef has a tropical climate. It has average temperatures in Summer of 24 and 33 degrees Celsius. In Winter, the average temperatures range between 14 to 26 degrees. Being a wet tropic climate. There are 2 seasons, “the green” and “the dry”. The region averages 300 days of sunshine per year. However, the water is warm enough to swim in all year round.
Increased temperature is just one of many effects of climate change on the reef. The other environmental changes predicted suggest there will be additional impacts, some may have severe consequences.
... THE GREAT BARRIER REEF Define Coral Reef A coral reef is a natural barrier made of the bodies of living and dead coral. Normally near the surface of the water ... lagoon forms and corals inhabit it. (Trishan) Reefs act as a wave break for beaches. The Great Barrier Reef protects the East coast of Australia and ...
According to a “Special Report – by Liz Minchin” The Great Barrier Reef will become functionally extinct within decades at the current rate of global warming, while wilder weather is set to affect property values and drive up insurance bills in many Australian coastal communities.
The Great Barrier Reef abounds with wildlife. Including dugong and green turtles. A variety of dolphins and whales. There are recorded some 1500 species of fish, including 49 pipefish and 9 seahorses (half the worlds species), 6 turtles, 15 sea snakes, and 80 genera of octocorals. The immense diversity of marine life encompasses 5000-8000 species of mollusc. 630 echinoderms, 1330 crusaceans, 6000 amphipod crustaceans, 1500 sponges, 350 ascidians, 3-500 bryozoans over 500 polychaete or bristle worms and 1000s of platyhelminths. The reef also has 2195 species of native plants.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are the indigenous groups from Australia. There are more than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional owner groups that have long continuing relationships with the Great Barrier Reef region and its natural resources.
The groups that express connections to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are situated along the Queensland coast from the Eastern Torres Strait Islands in the north to near Bundaberg in the South.
On The Great Barrier Reef, careful management has made sure that most of our activities don’t threaten the long term health of the eco system. Tourism operators have a vested interest in the health of the reef, and act as watch dogs, alerting management authorities as soon as they see something going wrong.
Ironically, the biggest threats to the reef come from human activities on land. Such as overfishing, pollution, dynamite and cyanide fishing etc.
The Great Barrier Reef covers the most extensive coral reef eco system in the world, extending 2300km from warm temperature waters just south of the Tropic of Capricorn to tropical waters in the Torres Strait halfway to Papua New Guinea, and from the low water mark to between 60 and 320 km from the coast. The complete reef system extends to the Paupa New Guinea coast.
... impacts affecting the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef . There is extra stress on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority’s ability to conserve the Great Barrier Reef as population growth ... groups of Aboriginals or Torres Strait Islanders. Outline the Aboriginal Heritage that exists within the Great Barrier ReefThe Great Barrier Reef has been home to the ...
The area is largely open water but exceeds that of the states of Victoria and Tasmania combined. It comparises some 3400 individual reefs, 2900 within the marine park, including 760 fringing reefs which range in size from under 1ha to over 10000ha in varying forms, and provide the most spectacular marine scenery on earth. There are some 300 coral cays and 44 low wooded islands. There are also 618 continental islands and the reef has been around for a very long time!