The Great Barrier Reef

What is a coral reef?

Coral reefs are structures made by living things known as polyps. Coral reefs support approximately 25 percent of all known marine species. As one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet, coral reefs are home to more than 4,000 species of fish, 700 species of coral, and thousands of other plants and animals.

What is the Great Barrier Reef?

The great barrier reef is the world's largest coral system. It is composed of 2,900 individual reefs. The reef is located off the coast of Queensland, Australia. A large part of the reef is proteccted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Why is the coral of the Great Barrier Reef important?

Just like any other coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef is home to many marine animals. It also helps with: protecting coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms, it is the source of nitrogen and other essential nutrients for marine food chains, assists in carbon and nitrogen fixing, and help with nutrient recycling.

The Great Barrier Reef generates more than1.5 billion dollars every year for the Australian economy, from fishing and tourism

Threats to the reef.

Human Threats: Ship wrecks- Ships sometimes collide with the reef or other surronding places. The collision cuases the coral to break off from the other parts of the ccoral. Also, other floating objects lodge in the coral. Oil Spills- While drilling is banned, spills occur from passing ships. The oil causes grounding scars. this causes parts of the coral to be unlivable for 10-20 years.Over fishing and tourist visits.Natural ThreatsCoral bleaching: A phenomenon that occurs due to a reaction to increases in water temperature, coral bleaching can be a hugely destructive force on reefs in general and the Great Barrier Reef in particularThe Crown of Thorns Starfish: Perhaps highest on the list of dangers to the Great Barrier Reef is an inhabitant of the reef itself. The Crown of Thorns starfish gains its sustenance from feasting on the polyps of coral, releasing neurotoxins to absorb the tissue of the coral and quite literally “sucking the life” out of the reef’s backbone
  • Preservation- to maintain
  • Conservation- protect from harm or distruction
  • Restoration- to return sometihing to its former state