The great barrier reef is the largest living reef in the world. The size of 70 million football fields, you’d be able to see the barrier reef if you were standing on the moon. So, it should be little surprise that the reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
It consists of nearly 3,000 coral reefs, 900 islands, and 300 cays which is why this one of the world’s foremost holiday destinations. The corals grow layer upon layer. Some of the reef layers are estimated at 20 million years old.
The reef is home to a huge variety of species from dolphins to turtle, sea snakes and, of course, fish. So, it offers some of the best dives in the world. The corals are themselves alive. They are created by polyps, tiny creatures that use the calcium from the surrounding water to protect their soft bodies. The algae on which the corals feed create the bright colors that we associate with coral reefs.
Bleached coral reefs happen when the polyps eject the colorful algae. The corals reproduce once a year and it can take just one polyp to start a whole new reef.
Unfortunately, reef eco-systems are also extremely sensitive to pollutants like plastic, pesticide runoff, and even sunscreen! Read on to learn why we need to work to protect our reefs.