Where is the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef starts south at Lady Elliot Island off the Queensland coast from  Bundaberg.  From here, it continues along the coast of Queensland to the tip of Cape York.  The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park extends over 3000 kilometres (18000 miles) along the Queensland coast of Australia.

Over 3000 individual coral reefs and 900 islands make up the Greatest wonder of the world, the Great Barrier Reef.

A natural wonder that is part of the World Heritage List is the Great Barrier Reef.  The Great Barrier Reef, the largest Coral Reef in the world, is one of Australia’s most remarkable natural gifts.

The Great Barrier Reef, composed of dazzling, vibrant coral and spans over 3000 kilometres, is between 15 and 150 kilometres off the coast and, in some places, is almost 65 km wide.  It offers divers the most breathtaking underwater experience possible.

About the Great Barrier Reef

More than 3000 different Reef systems, 300 coral cays, and charming tropical islands with some of the most stunning sun-drenched, golden beaches make up the Reef, which is home to an abundance of marine life.

The Reef is home to the most remarkable coral collection in the world (more than 400 different varieties).

Great Barrier Reef life

  • Coral sponges,
  • Molluscs,
  • Rays,
  • Dolphins,
  • Over 1500 species of tropical fish,
  • More than 200 species of birds,
  • Over 20 types of reptiles, including sea turtles,
  • Giant clams older than 120 years.

Endangered Species

Dugong (Sea Cow),   Green Sea Turtle, and humpback whales are endangered species that visit the Great Barrier Reef.  Each year humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic to breed on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981 due to its importance.

When you step back and take a closer look at the Great Barrier Reef, you can see why it is considered one of the world’s seven natural wonders.

Great Barrier Reef Coral

Microscopic creatures harness the sun’s energy and are why the Great Barrier Reef exists.  At night is when the coral becomes visibly alive.  The tiny coral polyps immerge from the limestone to feed on algae.

Corals eat the algae that reside in their tissues or catch and eat their prey.  Most reef-building corals collaborate unusually with microscopic algae called zooxanthellae.  The algae that inhabit coral polyps use sunlight to produce sugar as a source of energy.

Corals eat algae that reside in their tissues or catch and consume animals with extended coral polyp tentacles.

Most reef-building corals collaborate unusually with microscopic algae called zooxanthellae.  The algae that inhabit coral polyps use sunlight to produce sugar as a source of energy.

The transfer of this energy supplies the polyp with much-needed nutrition.  In return, coral polyps offer algae a haven and carbon dioxide.

Corals also consume zooplankton, which is microscopic floating organisms.  Coral polyps emerge from their skeletons at night to feed by extending their long, stinging tentacles to catch passing creatures.  The polyps draw their prey into their mouths.

History

The Great Barrier Reef Region is rich in the history and tradition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

There is evidence of a 60,000-year-old symbiotic interaction between them, even before the Reef began 7000 years ago.

There are about 70 Traditional Owners with authority for  Sea Country management in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Great Barrier Reef climate

Tropical weather prevails at the Great Barrier Reef, with average summertime highs of 24 to 33 degrees Celsius and wintertime lows of 14 to 26 degrees.  There are often more than 300 sunny days in the area each year.

Why is the Great Barrier Reef so important?

  • Coral reefs offer chances for recreation.
  • Serve as a barrier against erosion and storm damage.
  • Support local economies.
  • Source of fresh medications and food.
  • More than 500 million people rely on reefs for safety, income, and food.

Coral

One of the world’s most diversified ecosystems is on Great Barrier Reef.  Coral polyps, the invertebrates, are mainly in charge of creating reefs.  Appear in various shapes and sizes  Massive reef-building colonies, gracefully flowing fans, and even tiny, lone organisms.

There are several varieties of corals; some inhabit warm, shallow tropical waters while others dwell in the chilly, dark depths of the sea.

Diverse coral reefs

Coral Reefs are frequently referred to as the “rainforests of the sea” due to the richness of life.  Healthy coral reefs are essential to the survival of about 25% of the ocean’s fish.

In the numerous crevices created by corals, fish and other species find shelter, food, reproduce and raise their young.

More than 7,000 kinds of fish, invertebrates, plants, sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals live on the Great Barrier Reef.

Deep water reefs and mounds are less well-known and home to a diverse range of marine species in a relatively arid environment.

Tourism

The Great Barrier Reef supports over 64,000 jobs valued at 56 billion dollars to the Australian economy.

Next, visit locations and  Islands.