Is the Great Barrier Reef alive? Not only is the reef alive it is the largest living structure on the whole planet. Filled with corals, fish and all kinds of different plant and animal life the reef is incredibly rich and diverse and we need to make sure it stays protected. The reef stretches more than 2,000 kilometers and covers more than 14 degrees of latitude, it can even be seen from space. Have a closer look at just how amazing it is.
Plants and Animals in the Reef
The maze of colorful reefs is home to thousands of different species of plants and animals. Living within the reef system are turtles and crocodiles that have been here since prehistoric times and you can study how species have evolved by looking at the plants and animals that live within the reef. There are more than 600 varieties of coral, 100’s of species of jellyfish, 500 species of worms, 1600 types of fish and the list goes on. Scientists have been exploring the flora and fauna at the reef for almost 200 years. There are still much that they have to learn.
Pollution and the Reef
There has been plenty coverage in scientific magazines about the health of the reef. While claims of the Great Barrier Reef being dead are largely exaggerated the reef is still in grave danger. Pollution along with climate change have caused the death of almost 20% of the reef and that is a huge problem. The reef is a “rainforest in the ocean” meaning it not only provides oxygen but it is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet and we need to ensure its survival.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has the world’s largest coral reef system that includes more than 600 continental islangs, 150 mangrove islands, and 3,000 coral reefs, to say it is amazing really doesn’t do it justice. The water here is more than 100 feet deep and it can stretch to almost 250 km at its widest. The park was created in 1975 by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act and it includes the airspace above and the seabed below. This area is also a dedicated World Heritage Site.
The Great Barrier Reef is an incredible part of the planet’s ecosystem with the biggest selection of plant and animals species anywhere on the planet, and yes the reef is very much alive and full of reef safe fish. If we want to keep it that way we are going to have to do more to protect it. Reducing wastes that are dumped into our oceans and into our air, if the reef dies we won’t be long in following it.