Saturday, April 30, 2011

Protecting the World’s Largest Living Structure

1. The Great Barrier Reef is considered the “largest living structure on Earth.” It is incredible in its size and biodiversity.

Coral is one animal that is home to millions of others. It is crucial to the survival of the wide range of animal life in the Pacific Ocean.

2. Coral can form solid tentacles to aid in feeding habits. These tentacles are made from Calcium carbonate the coral extracts from the ocean. Coral diet can range from plankton to small fish. Nematocysts, or sting cells, allow coral to capture and kill prey.

3. The coral found on the base of the Great Barrier Reef is connected and grows as one giant mass. The coral would not be able to do this without the help of red algae. Red algae act as a glue to connect and cement a coral to another coral with sheets of Calcium carbonate.

The Great Barrier Reef is an important ecosystem and provides the world with a wide variety of species and life. The reef is influential to its regional economy as it provides a wealth of tourists, products, and food.

4. The Great Barrier Reef became a national park in 1975.

This, however, did not entirely protect it from disaster though. Environmental hazards and over fishing are primary concerns today.

5. Currently, 33% of the Great Barrier Reef is protected from fishing.

The world will need to do more to do more to help save this beautiful underwater land.

6. Scientists believe the current reef is approximately 20 thousand years old. However, recent research has shown there was a reef before this one buried deep as the next generation of coral continued to grow on top of it. The ancient reef is believed to be ½ million years old.

Something so precious and so old needs to be protected.

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