The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. It’s located off the coast of Queensland, Australia. With 2900 different reefs and 900 islands, it stretches for over 1400 miles covering over 133,000 square miles.
The Great Barrier Reef is important because it is a place that has a large variety of different sea life. There are over 1600 different kinds of fish that live in the Great Barrier Reef and many other animals swim around the Great Barrier Reef to hunt food and to make their homes.
What Kinds of Animals Live in the Great Barrier Reef?
There are many different species of animals that can be found in the Great Barrier Reef such as:
Even though there are so many beautiful fish and animals that live in the Great Barrier Reef, it is also the place where some of the deadliest fish live such as the Box Jellyfish, the Stone Fish, and the Blue Ringed Octopus.
Some of the Great Barrier Reefs are more than 500,000 years old while some are only 6-8,000 years old.
When the environment changed, there are remains that are left and these remain stack on top of each other. The corals then began to grow around hills and on plains and these formed many, many coral reefs. When the sea level gets bigger and the water gets warmer, the reefs continue to grow.
Coral is made from tiny animals that are called polyps. These animals live because of the sun and they work with plankton fish and algae to help them grow. Algae that is called zooxanthellae live in the tissue of the coral and they help to give the coral oxygen and food through photosynthesis.
The polyp gives the algae a home and they help the coral to absorb the carbon dioxide.
Coral Reefs are important because they help the ecosystem. They help because they help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Reefs help to take some of the impacts away when big storms or waves.
Reefs also provide many animals with food and without them, many plants and animals would die. Some people even think that coral can help to give medicines to people and some of the skeletons from coral reefs can help to substitute bone loss in human beings.
There are many different types of reefs such as the Crescentic reefs, flat reefs, ribbon reefs, deltaic reefs, fringing reefs, and lagoonal reefs.
Coral creates calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is a hard-shell-like skeleton and that is what coral is made of. When the coral stack, they can create different shapes and textures that are beautiful to look at.
The Great Barrier Reef is very, very large. It is equal to the size of over 70 million football fields all put together. It is the largest reef in the whole entire world.
The Great Barrier Reef is so big that even astronauts in space can see it. The Great Barrier Reef reaches over 2300 kilometers and it starts at Torres Straight that is in the North and goes all the way to Bundaberg that is locate din the South.
The widest part of the Great Barrier Reef is over 65 kilometers wide and not only that, but the Great Barrier Reef has over 900 of its very own islands.
The Great Barrier Reef is from 35 meters to 2000 meters deep. The inner reef is not as deep as the outer reef.
Overfishing of natural wonders can deplete key reef species and damage coral habitat and have a devastating effect on marine life.
It’s in danger because people that go and visit the reefs. When there is a lot of tourists that visit, it can cause the reef to break or to die because they are very fragile. Inexperienced Scuba divers and people who snorkel are directly or indirectly responsible for damaging the reef life.
Another problem for the Great Barrier Reef is pollution. Pollution such as oil spills can cause coral and other life in or around the Great Barrier Reef to die.
When the water gets low or the water quality is polluted, it can cause there to be toxins in the water. When tropical floods happen, they can have pesticides and other harmful toxins in them, and this can cause the reef to die or to be harmed.
Water can also cause harm to the coral. When the water temperature heats up, it can cause the coral to be bleached and this means that the coral turns white.
Another problem for the Great Barrier Reef is the Crown of Thorns Seastar. The Crown of Thorns Seastar is an organism that feeds off the Coral Polyps. Many of the corals have been destroyed because of the organism.
Coral bleaching is yet another problem caused by rising water temperatures and global warming.
People can help to protect the coral reefs by: