The Great Barrier Reef And all it's SecreTs

Larger than the Great Wall of China and being the only living thing on Earth seen from outer space, The Great Barrier Reef is a huge coral reef filled with beauitiful creatures and scenes.

Where is The Great Barrier Reef?

Map of The Great Barrier Reef
Map of The Great Barrier Reef compared to Australia

The Great Barrier Reef sits in Queensland Australia, between Port Douglas and Gladstone, it is beside the Pacific Ocean and the Coral Sea and the marine park its based in spans over 3000 kilometres of reef around 65 km wide in parts. The Great Barrier Reef is surrounded by 900 different islands and 2900 reefs, it stretches over 14 degrees of latitude and is bigger then Victoria and Tasmania combined.

The origin/heritage of The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a place of history, being a World Heritage Site since 1981 with around 1400 ship wrecks in the marine park including the Pandora and having maritime archaeology that delves into Australian history. The Great Barrier Reef is the identity of Australia, it is our very own world in a space we own. Going back in time there are many stories told about the ghosts that lived in the lighthouses of The Great Barrier Reef due to so many deaths of hard working keepers. Most of the reefs origin is told in stories, stories from the families that lived there for many generations or stories from the tribes living with the reef.

What changes are occurring/why?

The Great Barrier Reef is going through many changes, sadly more bad ones then good. Sea level rise, ocean warming, ocean acidification, oil rigs, climate change, pollution and more, all things destroying our oceans.

Coral bleaching

What aspects are naturally built?

Almost everything in and around the Great Barrier Reef is naturally built, the reef itself, the land around it, the only things not naturally built would be the lighthouses, boats, planes and buildings, The Great Barrier Reef was recorded in 1975 to have an average depth of 35 meters but on slopes outside the reef goes down to over 2000 meters including air space above to earth below the sea bed.

The Great Barrier Reef

Vegetation and animal life

There are many beautiful creatures in the Great Barrier Reef, ranging from the smallest mollusc to the largest whale. The Great Barrier reef holds the worlds largest collection of corals (more then 400) coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, over 1500 different species of fish, more then 200 types of birds, 20 types of reptiles (sea turtles, giant clams), humpback whales, Dugong and the large green sea turtle live in the Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is a breeding ground for humpback whales, migrating from the Antarctic.

Alcyonacea (sea fan)

The Alcyonacea is a type of coral often found in the Great Barrier Reef

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Cnidaria, Class: Anthozoa

Cowrie (Mollusca)

A black-spotted cowrie

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Linnaeus, Class: Gastropod

Sting Rays (Rays)

Stingray

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Chondrichthyes

Bottlenose Dolphins (Whales)

Bottlenose Dolphin

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammal

Parrot Fish (Fish)

Parrot Fish

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Actinopterygii

Buff -Banded Rail (bird)

Buff-Banded Rail

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Bird

Loggerhead Turtle (turtle)

Loggerhead Turtle

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Reptile

Humpback whales (whales)

Humpback whales

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammal

Dugong (sea cow)

Dugong

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Mammal

A risk threatening the reef

Ocean Acidification, "I want to go somewhere the ocean is still beautiful" The ocean absorbs carbon dioxide (co2), 1/3 of the co2 produced by humans on land is ending up in the sea, making it more and more acidic, the acid makes shells and coral weak and brittle, incredibly destroying hermit crab shells making them much more vulnerable to predators. To prevent this from getting much worse we can cut back on our energy usage. limit temperature rise to 2 degrees celsius and limit co2 to 350 concentration.

Surrounding landscape/tourism

If you were to go to the Great Barrier Reef, you would most likely visit via the Great Barrier Reef airport on Hamilton Island , where you can be taken into the reef on a diving ship. Over 2 million visitors go to the Great Barrier Reef per year which results in $5-6 billion dollars per year of profit.

Climate

Great Barrier Reef Weather Chart

Month, Max Avg Temp in Celsius, Min Avg Temp in Celsius, Avg Humidity %, Avg Rainfall mm

January, 31.5, 23.6, 75, 405

February, 31.1, 23.7, 78, 434

March, 30.5, 23.0, 78, 424,

April, 29.2, 21.5, 78, 197

May, 27.5, 19.9, 77, 99

June, 27.8, 17.6, 74, 49

July, 25.6, 17.0, 74, 30

August, 26.5, 17.5, 71, 27

September, 27.8, 18.6, 67, 35

October, 29.4, 20.5, 66, 38

November, 30.6, 22.2, 67, 89

December, 31.4, 23.3, 70, 175

https://www.great-barrier-reef.com/great-barrier-reef-weather.html

As you can see from these statistics the max temperature was in January at 31.5 degrees celsius, the lowest temperature was in July at 25.6, the highest avg humidity was in Feb, Mar and Apr at 75 %, the lowest avg humidity was in October at 66 %, the highest avg rainfall was in February at 434 mm, the lowest was in August with 27 mm.

The Great Barrier Reefs Summer, or the 'wet season' is humid, hot and when most tropical storms happen, Winter, or the 'dry season' is dry with fresh cold breeze. Sea water temperatures range from 23 degrees Celsius in July to 29 degrees Celsius in February.

Significance to Aboriginal/Torres Strait islander people

Aboriginal/Torres Strait islander people are the traditional owners of The Great Barrier Reef, over 70 clans teach us the heritage and values of the reef, they work with the Marine Park to keep The Great Barrier Reef as healthy as it should be. They perform traditional rituals on the land keeping their spiritual connections with the land.

Dreamtime Stories

Dreamtime stories on The Great Barrier Reef are hard to find because if the Great Barrier Reef now averages to around 35 meters deep and the sea level has risen up to 60 meters, the reef would have been high enough to be hunting land, flood plains and/or hills for the tribes. I researched two stories which seem to have a connection with The Great Barrier Reef, firstly, Wayambeh the turtle, this story is of a man who was selfish and immature, he didn't listen to his leaders and ran away when he was told to marry a woman, Wayambeh refused and found a lady by the shore who he wanted to marry, she told him she was married but he took her away back to his tribe, his elders were angry and when the woman's tribe arrived to reclaim her, the elders showed no interest in helping Wayambeh, the other tribe attacked Wayambeh but he took his shell, covering his front and back he mocked the tribe, they angered and threw spears at Wayambeh, he ran and dived into a 'billabong' which some people say is the Great Barrier Reef, he came out a few days later as a turtle. The second story I didn't find in the form of a story but I found information about it, some tribes had been surveyed about the Great Barrier Reef decades ago and they explained identifiable land marks that are now under water, we can see from how high above the landmarks the water is, the stories they told may have been up to 10,000 years old.

Bibliography

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Credits:

Created with images by alicia3690 - "heart coral australia" • xxun0125 - "marine great barrier reef blue" • Eulinky - "Great Barrier Reef 35" • Lise1011 - "Lighthouse" • releasetheweb - "helicopter great barrier reef australia" • xxun0125 - "marine great barrier reef blue" • Paul from www.Castaways.com.au - "Great Barrier Reef, Eddy Reef off Mission Beach" • Eulinky - "Great Barrier Reef 52" • Sarah_Ackerman - "Fish of the Great Barrier Reef" • Bob Linsdell - "Agincourt Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland (483768)"

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