The Great Barrier Reef

fragile ecosystem by Yunnan Duong


Our planet is changing all the time, it relys on the ecosystem and how climate can affect wildlife. People need to know about the ecosystem so they can protect the wildlife for it to survive and flourish.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the ecosystems and is ampled with colourful fishes swimming within the coral and algae of every shape, form and colour.

The reef consists of more than three thousand individual reefs.

It is the largest ecosystem with an age near 6000 and 8000 years.

Captain James Cook and his crew were the first Europeans to sail the full length of the Great Barrier Reef.


The Barrier Reef stretches along the eastern coastline of Queensland,it starts at the tip of Cape York down to Rockhampton.

It consists of almost 1,300 islands, including the 400 islands in Torres Strait, making it one of the single largest ecosystems on Earth.

The reefs covers an area of around 20,000 square kilometres.


There are many plants in the reef like seaweed, Bubble coral, Staghorn, Stony coral, Jelly Piller coral, Mushroom coral, Organ Pipe coral and lots more.

What the coral eat is algae and zooplankton.

The coral reef is made from skeletons of millions of tiny creatures called Polyps.

What algae does is keep the coral together.

Most corals are name after the things they resemble like the Bubble coral, it got it's name from looking like a group of bubbles.

Scientists have discovered there are more than 2,900 coral reefs, about 360 of hard corals, and a variety of 500 species of coral are found in the Barrier Reef.


It is home to about 10,000 animals that live in the reef.

These are some of the animals that live there: Angelfish, Butterfly fish, Cardinal fish, Clown fish, Damselfish, Gobies, Groupers and Cods, Whale sharks, Parrotfish, Surgeonfish, Triggerfish, Trout, Wrasse, Sharks, Whales, endangered Turtles, Dolphins, Clams, Crabs, Octopus, Sea Snakes, Jellyfish, Sea stars, Seahorses, Dugongs, molluscs, echinoderms and many more.

You can find more than 1,500 species of fishes, 5,000 of molluscs, 600 of echinoderms, about 31 mammals, 200 birds, 6 species of sea marine turtles and a number of about 14 species of sea snakes.

Whale sharks like the one in the picture are the largest sharks of their kind, even they look big but they are completely harmless.


The coral attracts tourist to come .

The tourist have found the layers of the reef which are the shore, inner reef, reef crest, outer reef and limestone.

About 2,000,000 tourists vist the reef each year. They bring $5.1 billion to the economy just to have a chance to experience the spectacular under water beauty of the reef.

Tourists come for swimming, fishing, sailing, snorkelling, scuba diving, jet skiing and cruising.

Most of the tourist go vist to explore the colourful environment to learn about the life under water.

They also go whale watching and swim with the dolphins.

Threats and Dangers

The biggest threat to the Barrier Reef is the climate change like warmer seas, rising sea level and more frequent severe storms.

There is over fishing by illegal fishing and commercial fishing.

There is also a threat to by pollution from shipping and safety issues.

Another threat to the reef is tourists, when they come too near to the coral, the coral can be damage or broken.

Corals and animals can be hurt by anchors of the boats and human touch.

Sometimes if a tourist damage a coral it will take decades for it to recover.

A threat to turtles and many other creatures on the Reef often die after ingesting plastic bags. The turtles mistake the bags for sea jellies, which is a source of food.

Interesting Facts

You can see the Great Barrier Reef from space.

Algae that live inside the coral creates the colours of the reef.

A feeding white-shark, one of the many species of shark found in the reef that do not have to keep swimming to stay alive, will keep its head stuck in a cave until it has eaten its prey so it won't have to share food with it's fellows.

The mass of fertilisation by so many different species of animals will help at the same time to protect the gametes from the zooplankton predators, who gorge themselves within the minutes.

Seagrasses are flowering plants that have fully adapted to the life under the sea. They flower once a year and their pollen, which floats on the currerl, enables them to fertilise the female plants nearby.

Millions of tonnes of force are expended on the reef fronts almost daily and, when you see the shape of the surface, you can understand why the plants and animals that live there are so robust.

Many species of fruit and seed-eaters roost on islands but feed on the mainland, do each night the birds carry back a load of seeds that are mixed with their droppings, transporting some plant species out to the islands.


The Great Barrier Reef is one of the scarce resources for Australia. It needs to be protected and we need to avoid any damage that will cause its extinction, so future generations can see the beauty of the coral reef and enjoy the sun on the beach with a clean sea.