Great Barrier Reef


The great barrier reef is a complex ecosystem off the coast of QLD, approximately 2300KM from Papua new guinea’s fly river, north 8 degrees south to Frasier island and south 24 degrees. It covers an area of around 348 000 square kilometres which is larger then the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands combined.

UNESCO (United nation’s education, scientific and cultural organisation) named the Great Barrier Reef a world heritage site in recognition of the vast biodiversity. It is now the largest world heritage site in the world. 13 000 fish, 200 bird, 500 seaweed   , 600 echinoderm(sea cucumbers and sea urchins), 125 shark/ray, 360 species of hard coral and 6 of the worlds 7 turtle species are found within the reef.

Coral is known for its brittle, vibrant coloured shades that make up the beauty of the reef. But this beauty can be easily taken away, like with harsh storms and cyclones. The reef is located in Australia’s cyclone zone. These cyclones have been hitting the reef for thousands of years. This is how the reef is shaped and moulded. Large storm waves which are generated by strong winds due too intense low pressure systems mix together to create the reef to be damaged, reshaped and regenerate making more bigger stronger coral every time. During cyclones the water is tossed and churned up and around, this creates sediment or algae to become unsettled and causing it to settle down on potentional new coral where new polyps could settle. With the sediment covering the coral, this smothers it and kills off the new polyps. Also in the sediment contains harmful, toxic chemicals usually from farm and irrigation runoff this rises the turbidity in the water(making the water cloudy). Not only is sediment and contaminated sediment a problem so is fresh water from the inland, farms and towns/communities. Fresh water entering into highly salinitised areas will alter these salinity levels making it the wrong environment for certain species like fish...