The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest coral reef system located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
A coral reef is an underwater structure formed by coral secretions of calcium carbonate and is home to a wide array of tiny sea creatures including fish, mollusks, worms, crustaceans (such as crabs), and sponges.
The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2,600 kilometers (1,600 mi) and runs parallel to the coast of Queensland. Considered “One of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders”, it contains over 2,900 individual coral reefs and 900 islands!
The reef can be thought of as the “Rain Forest of the Sea” as it is home to thousands of sea creatures big and small. It is the habitat of endangered species such as the Dugong and the large Green Sea turtle.
Marine visitors to the reef include thirty species of dolphins, whales and porpoises as well as Humpback whales who migrate to the reef every year from cold arctic waters to breed.
Divers can enjoy luscious views of hundreds of vibrant corals and over 1,500 species of beautiful tropical fish. The beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is preserved by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Although it is a protected area, the Great Barrier Reef still faces environmental threats such as coral bleaching caused by climate change, pollution from run-off, over-fishing, and shipping accidents.
Stretching over 1,600 mi, the Great Barrier Reef is larger than the Great Wall of China and can be seen from outer space!