The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world.
It is found in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
This incredible eco-system is 2,300 km (1430 miles) long.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth and is visible from outer space!
The Great Barrier Reef is composed of over 2,900 individual reef.
The Great Barrier Reef has over 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometers.
Corals play an important role in the formation of the Great Barrier Reef.
There are 600 types of soft and hard corals, more than 100 species of jellyfish, 3000 varieties of molluscs, 500 species of worms, 1625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins.
Around 10% of the world’s total fish species can be found just within the Great Barrier Reef.
The reef contains some of the deadliest animals in the ocean, including Box Jellyfish, the Blue Ringed Octopus, and Stone Fish.
Many endangered species have made the reef their home, like amazing loggerhead and green turtles who seem to glide effortlessly through the beautiful blue waters, with the reef also being the preferred breeding ground of the majestic humpback whale who make the journey here every year.
At 8000 years old, the thin layer of living coral that makes up the Great Barrier Reef is a spring chicken compared to the 500,000-year old dead coral and algae layers that lie beneath.
English explorer and naval officer Captain James Cook discovered the Great Barrier Reef on this day in 1770 the hard way by running aground on it. Cook’s ship, The Endeavor, was stuck fast on the reef for an entire day.
The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage area and listed as one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World”
In 2012 Google launched the very first underwater Street View on the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef attracts over two million visitors each year!
This generates an estimated AU$ 5-6 billion per year in revenue to the Australian economy, in the form of accommodation, tours, souvenirs, food, transport, and other such items.
The Great Barrier Reef is depicted as the home location of Marlin and Nemo in the film Finding Nemo.
It is estimated that there are still vast numbers of plant and animal species still to be discovered within the reef systems.
Climate change is perhaps the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef.
Warmer ocean temperatures put stress on coral and lead to coral bleaching.
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