The Great Barrier Reef is breathtakingly beautiful. Located in northeast Australia – the continent country, it remains one of the most famous vacation destinations. At the same time, it is one place that many marine scientists love to flock for extensive studies. In this article on interesting Great Barrier Reef facts, we are going to learn some of the most amazing facts about this natural wonder. We are pretty sure that you will instantly fall in love with this amazing place and consider a trip soon.
Interesting Great Barrier Reef Facts: 1-5
1. The Great Barrier Reef is pretty old. It was formed some 500,000 years back. However, the formations that we see today are not as old as the reef itself. As a matter of fact, the current formations are actually only 6,000 to 8,000 years old.
2. The formations of the reef keep changing. This change occurs depending on the sea level. This explains why the current formations are way younger than the reef itself.
3. When we say formations, what exactly do we mean? They are basically large formations or structures which are made up of living organisms.
4. What living organisms actually? These living organisms in question are none other than coral polyps and zooxanthellae. Coral polyps are animals that come from jellyfish family. Zooxanthellae are a type of algae.
5. The coral polyps and the zooxanthellae live in a symbiotic relationship. The coral polyps provide a safe and cozy place for the algae. The algae in return provide the building blocks necessary for the polyps to survive. In addition to this, the algae also make limestone. This limestone is used for building the structures of the reef.
Interesting Great Barrier Reef Facts: 6-10
6. The vast structures that are created out of the symbiotic relationship between the polyps and the algae are known for supporting a wide range of life forms. For instance, 30 different species of porpoises, dolphins and whales live in the Great Barrier Reef.
8. The reef is called home by 5,000 different mollusk species, 1,500 + fish species, and 17 sea snake species.
9. Among the fish species, the enchanting ones like clownfish, red-throat emperor and red brass are found here. The sea snakes that are found here are usually found in the southern section of the reef as opposed to the northern section. These snakes live in the warm waters and the maximum depth they reach is 160 feet.
10. Olive Ridley Turtle, Flatback Turtle, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Leatherback Sea Turtle and Green Sea Turtle are the six different turtle species that use the Great Barrier Reef as their breeding ground.
Interesting Great Barrier Reef Facts: 11-15
11. Apart from that, there are large marine mammals (manatee relatives) called dugongs that live in large numbers in the reef. It is also not unusual to find a number of species of coral trout and snapper trouts in the reef.
12. Birds also call the Great Barrier Reef their home. There 215 bird species that roost or nest on the islands or simply visit the islands. Of these 215 species, 32 species are shore birds while 22 species are seabirds.
13. Roseate tern and sea eagle (white-bellied) are the commonly sighted birds in this reef.
14. Wondering about flora? The reef won’t disappoint you. Seagrass are pretty common in the reef and there are 15 different species available there. The commonest ones are Halodule and Halophila.
15. These seagrasses are actually food for the dugongs and the turtles. Apart from that, they are also the natural habitat for the fish living in the reef.
Interesting Great Barrier Reef Facts: 16-20
16. The reef’s coastlines are covered with several salt marshes and mangroves. Any guess what you can find there? The ferocious and massive saltwater crocodiles!
17. The biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef is extremely rich and it is also the home for various endangered species of marine animals. This is the reason why GBRMPA or Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority increased the count of highly protected zones in 2004 by nearly 30%.
18. Ever wondered how big is the Great Barrier Reef? If we calculate the length from the northernmost tip to its southernmost tip, it covers a whopping 1,600 miles or 2,575 kilometers.
19. If we try to calculate the total area covered by the reef, it stands at an astonishing 344,400 square kilometers or 133,000 square miles. That’s slightly less than the total area covered by Japan (377,962 square kilometers).
20. Now that you have an idea of the area of the reef, you can very well guess that it is the largest system of coral reef in world and it is so big that it can actually be seen from space. Now that’s quite interesting, ain’t it?