Great Barrier Reef Facts

About Great Barrier Reefs

Extending up to more than 1400 miles, stretching along the Northeastern coastline of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is home to over 9000 species of marine animals collectively. Attracting over 2 million visitors each year, this attraction is one of the most visited places in the world. With several animals such as wrasses, damselfish, triggerfish, angelfish, tiger sharks, white sharks, and whales, it is home to 3000 distinct reefs of Coral. Moreover, several interesting Great Barrier reef facts such as it being the world’s largest reef system, being home to an incredible diversity of species, and stretching out far into the Coral Sea, make it a place for scientific research and development.

However, due to severe climate change, the reefs are badly affected, and active restoration efforts, both by the Australian government, and climate activists around the world are taking place. The Great Barrier reef facts holds another interesting highlight, which is, the evolution of the reefs, which dates back to the prehistoric eras, spanning over a period of 20 million years. Also a UNESCO world heritage site, the Reef is a must visit if you wish to witness the beauty of nature, and the thrilling and exciting adventurous activities the Great Barrier Reef tour has to offer.

Great Barrier Reefs Facts

Home To Incredibly Diversity Of Species

Another interesting highlight from the Great Barrier Reef facts is that it is home to some of the largest diversity of species, including around 32 species of dolphins, whales, and porpoises. The reef is also home to about 6 species of turtle, around 18 species of sea snake. It also houses about 10% of the world’s fish species, making it a total of 1500 species. Some of the most common species found here are the wrasses, damselfish, triggerfish, and angelfish. Other larger species include the tiger sharks, white sharks, and the whales. The Reef barrier is also filled with green alga, called Halimeda; with distinct mangroves in the northern cays.

It’s the World’s Largest Reef System

One of the most amazing Great Barrier Reef facts is that it is the world's largest reef system. With an expansive stretch of 2600 km, home to over 3000 individual reefs, and 900 islands, the Great Barrier Reef goes up to 1250 miles (up to 2000 km) to the northwest-southeast direction. The distance offshore ranges from 10 to 100 miles (16 to 160 km), and the width starts from 37 miles and goes up to 155 miles.

It is further out than you may think

While it is popularly known that the coral reefs survive in warm, shallow waters, one of the most interesting Great Barrier reef facts is that the actual dive site might easily take up to 45 minutes to 2 hours to reach. The definition of a barrier reef goes by a coral reef which runs parallel to the shore, but is divided by a massive lagoon.

It is advised and recommended to carry some motion or travel sickness pills to battle a windy day out in the Great Barrier Reef. Owing to its massive area of occupancy, the coral reef exploration is an experience in itself.

Threats To the reefs are numerous

It is a commonly known Great Barrier reef facts that due to the rapid climate change, the coral reefs are being affected drastically. Various reasons can be attributed to the same; including the diving equipment being a part of the garbage spilled, increasing temperatures of the sea, and bleaching caused due to pollution.

Another major threat to the Great Barrier reef is the coastal development along the shores of Queensland, right beside the Reef region. Moreover, due to the deposit of excessive chemicals, the natural nutrients for fishes and other marine species have been contaminated, leading to decrease in the number of marine ecosystems.

A bleached reef isn’t always a dead reef

One of the major causes of coral bleaching remains climate change, and other causes which add to it are, pollution, low tides, or intense sunlight. According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, more than 75% of the globe’s tropical coral reefs were exposed to heat, which was severe enough to trigger bleaching, which led to a threat of starvation and disease. However, Corals can also recover, given that the conditions are returned to normal, and there is no extra strain on the Corals.

There is hope for the reef’s return

Since the Great Barrier reef facts concerning its environmental damage have been out in public, both the conservationists, and the Australian Government are working tirelessly to restore this natural wonder. WIth advanced laboratory techniques assisting in growth of reefs away from the coral, and planting the same when ready, to work being put in to reduce the sediment run off, the efforts from across the globe are commendable.

Moreover, owing to its immense popularity, the Great Barrier Reef generates about $5-6 billion dollars with an average influx of 2 million tourists every year. A significant portion of this amount is used in conservation, preservation and restoration of the Great Barrier reef.

The reef is millions of years old!

With reef structures dating up to 20 million years ago, it is estimated that the Reef is millions of years old. These structures are usually found in clear, shallow, and warm water, so that there is enough sunlight for the nurturing of the reef, on which corals can feed on the same.

The reefs are divided into four categories; namely, the fringing reefs, barrier reefs, patch reefs, and atolls. The Fringe reefs started to grow along the coastlines, while the barrier reefs were found in deeper lagoons. This is one of the most interesting facts about the Great Barrier Reef.

Prehistoric Creatures still live there

Since the Great Barrier Reef is millions of years old, it is commonly known that the prehistoric creatures still live here. The most distinctively known species is the nautilus, similar to squid, which is known to have remained unchanged since the past 500 million years.

Other famous species of prehistoric origins include the ancient sharks, the giant oil fish, the crustaceans swarms, and the shrimps. From the facts about the Great Barrier reef, this is one of the most curious one, which has led to several exploration and research into the Coral reefs.

Corals only spawn once a year

Another strangely interesting facts about the Great Barrier Reef is that the corals reproduce only once a year, when the atmosphere, ambience, and the conditions remain favorable. The sight is similar to viewing a snowstorm, with the process being the genetic matter released by polyp into the water. The deposits left due to the process can even be seen from space, and following the event, the new reef begins to form.

The Great Barrier Reef Facts FAQs

How old is the Great Barrier Reef?

Among the Great Barrier reef facts, one of the most significant facts is that the outer self core is about 490,000 to 1.05 million years old. Since it is home to over 1600 species of fish, 600 types of Coral, and 133 types of Sharks, the evolution process of these species took a good 20 million years.

What makes the Great Barrier Reef so famous?

Also a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Great Barrier reef is a collection of 100 islands, making it one of the most beautiful, scenic, and pristine places to visit in the world. With adventure activities such as snorkeling, and diving, and viewing the famous corals, the Great Barrier Reef has got several interesting experiences.

What is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef?

The best time to visit the Great Barrier Coral Reefs is in between the months of June to October. During this time, the temperature remains between 60 Fahrenheit and 80 Fahrenheit, making it ideal to even watch coral spawns. Also, rainfall is uncommon during this time of year, providing accessibility to clearer water, and improved conditions while diving.

Where is the Great Barrier Reef located?

The Great Barrier reef is located a little off the coast of Queensland, in the Coral sea, in Australia. It is managed by the Reef Marine Park Authority of Australia.

How many islands are there on the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great barrier reef is home to over 100 islands, ranging from the Southern Great Barrier Reef to the tip of Cape York. Some of the most famous islands include Lazy Musgrave Island, Hamilton Island, Lady Elliot Island, Magnetic Island, Pumpkin Island, Fitzroy Island, and many more.


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