The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world. This coral reef has an expanse of 1,616 miles. It is 60 meters below surface of the Eastern Coast of Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef is an living organism. The reef is made up of dead and living coral. It feeds on microscopic plankton.and gains energy from the algae that lives inside its walls. There are two types of coral: hard and soft. Hard coral stabilizes the reef. The different types of coral join together to form the reef.
The Great Barrier Reef is the home to many different species of animals. Fifteen hundred species of fish inhabit the Great Barrier Reef. It is the home to 6 species of turtles, 4,000 species of mollusks, 16 species of snake, and 215 species of bird. There are 600 species of echinoderms and 125 species of sharks.
Many of these animals are on the endangered species list. The ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef is a delicate and complex thing. Any outside disturbances can cause damage to the reef and threaten the lives of the unique animals that call it home. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority works to protect these animals from these dangers.
The six species of sea turtle that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef are endangered. The least known about and the largest whale, the blue whale, is also endangered. It makes its home among the coral reef. The dugong, also known as the sea cow, are being threatened to near extinction. Dugong's produce on calf every 3 to 7 years. Unfortunately, they are dying faster than they can reproduce.
The animals of the Great Barrier Reef have always had natural threats, such as changes in sea temperature, predators, and the amount of salinity in the water. Now a greater threat has emerged. Man made threats are now an issue for the animals of the Great Barrier Reef as well as the reef itself. Pollutants can cause problems in the health of the animals. They can be seriously hurt or killed by boat strikes. Fishing nets are also a threat. The animals get tangled in the nets and drown.
The Great Barrier Reef is a complex sytem. It.The coral itself is actually a living animal. is the home to many living organims These species of animals are unique to the Great Barrier Reef. Many of them could not survive anywhere else. Great care should be taken to protect this natural wonder and the animals that call it home.