The Great Barrier Reef Tom Boric


Starting at the tip of the Cape York Peninsula spanning all the way down to to Bunderburg in the south. Cairns is the most popular spot for snorkellers and divers, as it is around the middle. It's the largest corral reef system in the world, as well as being the largest it is also the fastest dying reef system. The exact location of central Great Barrier Reef is 18.2871° S, 147.6992° E

Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people hunted and fished the Great Barrier Reefs waters long before captain cook and his crew came along, to go along with help survive they used it for recreational purposes as well.

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is quiTe signifigant to all australian citzens because not only is it beautiful but it is the second largest tourist attraction in Australia only beHind port jackson. All the tourism raIses $5-$6 billion Aus per year.


The GBR stretches over 2,300 km along the Queensland coastline. Typically there is no dream time stories about how the Great Barrier Reef was formed mainly because it is basically a forest just below sea level. There is stories about the islands came to exist. Here is one example,

"In the beginning, as far back as we remember, our home islands were not islands at all as they are today. They were part of a peninsula that jutted out from the mainland and we roamed freely throughout the land without having to get in a boat like we do today. Then Garnguur, the seagull woman, took her raft and dragged it back and forth across the neck of the peninsula letting the sea pour in and making our homes into islands." Authors: Nick Reid and Patrick D. Nunn.



The photos are of the shapes of the Great Barrier Reef (top) and California (bottom). I have just come to the conclusion that they are very similar is shape, I never noticed this until I started this task.


The Vegetation and Animal Life in the Great Barrier Reef is unlike any other in the world. Many different colours, textures, coral, fish, turtles, mammals. Almost everything in a tropical ocean you can think the GBR's got it and that's not just fish or mammals for that matter. The Great Barrier Reef is home to over 1'500 species of fish, 411 types of hard coral and 1/3 of the worlds sort coral.

The Great Barrier Reef has an extraordinary collection of fish in its arsenal. In it holds 134 scpecies of sharks and sting rays, six of the worlds seven species of threatened marine turtles and more than 30 species of marine mammals. The GBR has beech along 80% of its length. The Great Barrier Reef has a tropical climate, with average temperatures between 24 and 33 degrees Celsius in the summer, and in winter between 14 and 26 degrees. Being a tropical climate the GBR only goes through 2 seasons, 'the green' and 'the dry'.


Tourism. It kills the Reef and raises money to save it, it's a win, lose, win situation. $6 Billion a year and it's still on track to be completely dead by 2020. Tourism isn't what's mainly killing the GBR it's the global warming and the big one coral bleaching. Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard of global warming, but coral bleaching is the surprise to most. Coral bleaching, what's that? Coral bleaching is when the water becomes to warm the coral begins to fade, loose its colour and eventually turn white. When the water is too warm, corals will spew out algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causes the coral to completely turn white and looking like stacks of bones and skeletons.

⬆️Left, coral that been bleached. Right, unbleached coral⬆️

The Australian and Queensland government are jointly investing approximately $200 million annully towards the reefs health and rehabilitation. A number of strategies are in place to protect the reef park. The cornerstone of these strategies is a thorough zoning system that provides high levels of protection in key areas that are in the most risk of dying and bleaching.

Change, the Reef is Changing:

The Reef is changing and it's changing fast, it's dying and it's and not going to stop any time soon, the coral is bleaching, now because of this bleaching 2/3 of the northern part of the reef is dead and stone cold white. 2050, the year that the reef is projected to be dead for ever.

Bleaching Coral

But still some how the Great Barrier Reef is still pulling in more tourist and more of their money every year, it Cleary doesn't want to die.

Part 2

Threats to the reef:

  • Climate change
  • Poor water quality
  • Impacts from costal development
  • Illegal and over fishing

The good news is that coral reefs are naturally resilient. By reducing threats and minimising impacts we enable reefs to naturally recover, even from the most damaging of tropical cyclones, such as Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

Climate Change

Climate change is making the climate warmer, therefore causing the water temperatures to rise. As the temperature rises, more and more coral begins to become bleached, and then dead. Climate change is, threatening the reef more than just bleaching the coral it is also increasing extreme weather attacks, ocean acidification and rising sea levels.

Poor Water Quality

Poor water quality influenced by land-based run off is recognised as one of the most significant threats to the long term health and resilience to the GBR. It is declining many of the attributes that make up the outstanding value of the Great Barrier Reef, particularly those related to the coral reefs.

Impacts From Costal Development

As Queensland grows, so does most of its major industries, as they continue to expand they are building more warehouses, they build closer and closer toward the coastline. Impacts on the health of the reef can emerge from the legacy of past development, such asbroad scale clearing of habitats for agriculture.

Illegal and Over Fishing

The Great Barrier Reef supports commercial, recreational, indigenous and charter fishing, but for the community to manage and keep it to a level is not easy. The reef needs to have a healthy ecosystem to allow the public to continue fishing in their area, there are rumours that the Queensland government is going to shut down any fishing until, the reef can recover, and know that it will survive.

Tom Boric

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Photo Bibliography

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