The Great Barrier Reef, a miracle of the world, created by nature, stretches along the north-eastern coast of Australia for 2500 km.
This is the largest reef on earth, formed by the vital activity of tiny living creatures - coral polyps.
Spread out over an enormous area of almost 345,000 square kilometers, the Great Barrier Reef is a unique ecosystem, similar to which there is no more in any corner of the globe.
History of Reef Education
The once-modern Australian mainland wasPart of Antarctica, and the water around it was too cold for the life of corals. But about 65 million years ago on the world map there were tremendous changes: Australia broke away from Antarctica and began to shift to the north. The transfer of the mainland to the tropics coincided with the rise in sea level, and this led to the creation of ideal conditions for the growth and reproduction of corals.
Reef-forming corals can only exist onShallow water in salt water with a temperature of at least 18 ° C, and an ideal temperature for the growth of corals is 22-27 ° C. That's why the Great Barrier Reef is bounded in the south by the tropic of Capricorn - it's getting too cold. In the north, coral islands end near the coast of New Guinea, where the Flay River flows into the ocean and desalts water.
The main backbone of the reef has developed on the territory,Once served as a watershed for the now flooded rivers. The age of the oldest parts of the reef is determined by scientists in 400 thousand years, and the youngest reefs are built on the tops of the old for the last 200 years. The main period of the Great Barrier Reef formation dates back to 8,000 years ago.
The Great Barrier Reef consists of 2,900 separateReefs of various sizes, which are surrounded by barriers from many islands. Between the reef and the coast stretches a huge lagoon with kilometer-long shallows.
Inhabitants of coral islands
The Great Barrier Reef is included by UNESCO in the listObjects of world heritage and enters the territory of the Marine National Park. This is due not only to the uniqueness of the object itself, but also to the fact that the reef is the world's largest ecosystem, inhabited by amazing inhabitants of all kinds and forms.
The reef consists of 400 kinds of corals of all colorsRainbows, which are the habitat for 1500 species of fish. Of this number, 500 species of fish are exclusively reef, that is, adapted to life only in this place of the globe.
It is here that from June to August comeHumpback whales in order to breed. The southern part of the reef serves for reproduction of sea turtles, all seven species of which are endangered. Here lives the largest fish in the world - a whale shark, eating only plankton, hunt killer whales and dolphins. A huge number of species of crustaceans: crab, shrimp, lobster, lobster found shelter in coral thickets. In addition, the reef is inhabited by huge bird colonies.
The wonderful world of the Great Barrier Reef attractsTourists and divers from all over the world. Employees of the Marine National Park divided the territory of the reef into six zones, not all of which are accessible to tourists. This is due to the fact that the ecosystem of coral islands is extremely fragile and, apart from anthropogenic impact, is endangered by tropical hurricanes, changes in the temperature or salinity of sea water and sea stars eating coral polyps.