Ecotourism: The Great Barrier Reef

By Jon and Coy

A Coral Reef

Coral reefs are underwater structures that are home to many underwater specimens. Often called “rainforests of the sea”, coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They are most commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters, but deep water and cold water corals also exist on smaller scales in other areas.

The Great Barrier Reef

What is the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef is the worlds largest coral reef system. Stretching over 2,600 kilometers. The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.

Coral reefs support commercial and subsistence fisheries, as well as jobs and businesses that support tourism and recreation. The Great Coral Reef buffers shorlines against waves, storms, and floods, helping to prevent loss of life, property damage, and erosion.

Threats to the Great Barrier Reef

Preservation- To maintain in safety from injury, peril, or harm; protect.

Conservation- The protection, preservation, management, or restoration of wildlife and of natural resources such as forests, soil, and water.

Restoration- An instance of restoring or of being restored

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Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps are like tiny sea anemones, to which they are closely related.

Why can the Great Barrier Reef be called a region?

The Great Barrier Reef lies off the east coast of Australia. It is the world's largest coral reef. Coral reefs have been called the "tropical rain forests of the ocean." Designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Area, the Great Barrier Reef is a popular tourist site, as well as an important environmental resource.