THE GREAT BARRIER CORAL REEF
- The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi).
- The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
- The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.
- This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. CNN labeled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
- More than 1,500 fish species live on the reef.
- Around 125 species of shark, stingray, skates or chimaera live on the reef.
- Close to 5,000 species of mollusc have been recorded on the reef, including the giant clam and various nudibranchs and cone snails.
- 215 species of birds (including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds) visit the reef or nest or roost on the islands.
The Great Barrier Coral Reef
Directive 1.1 - Climate Change and its affect on the Great Barrier Coral Reef.
|The Problem||Recommended Actions||Reasoning / Supporting Evidence|
|The Great Barrier Reef's environmental pressures include lowered water quality from runoff including suspended sediment, excess nutrients, pesticides, and fluctuations in salinity. The effects of climate change, include increased temperatures, storms and coral bleaching.
Cyclic outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish, overfishing which disrupts food chains, and shipping routes which can result in oil spills or improper ballast discharge also cause damage to the reef.
|Providing the damage is not too extensive, Nature is capable of restoring its natural balance.
To help support this process, the following actions are recommended to minimise any further negative human impact.
|The following scientific research supports the need for the recommended actions.
1. "Human Impact on the Great Barrier Reef". University of Michigan.
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