What’s So Great About The Great Barrier Reef?

coral reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most famous natural phenomena on the planet, but what makes it stand out? Here are 10 fun facts about the Great Barrier Reef!

1. World’s Largest Living Structure

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth, stretching over 2,300 kilometres along the north east Australian coast.

2. Visible from Space

The Great Barrier Reef is so vast that it’s visible from space! Astronauts above the Earth can see its shapes from the International Space Station.

3. Home To Thousands Of Species

The reef is home to an incredible diversity of marine life. This includes over 1,500 species of fish, 400 species of coral, 4,000 species of mollusc, and 240 species of birds.

4. Coral Spawning Spectacle

One of nature’s most extraordinary events occurs on the reef each year when corals simultaneously release their eggs and sperm into the water in an event known as coral spawning. This synchronized mass spawning usually takes place after the full moon in late spring or early summer.

5. Whale Highway

The Great Barrier Reef is a crucial migratory route for several species of whales. Humpback whales travel thousands of kilometres from Antarctica to their breeding grounds in the warm waters of the tropics.

6. Living Fossil

The coelacanth, an ancient fish once thought to be extinct for millions of years, was rediscovered in the waters near the Great Barrier Reef in 1938. This ancient fish provides valuable information on the evolutionary history of marine life.

7. Biodiversity Hotspot

The reef is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, supporting a vast array of species, many of which don’t live anywhere else on Earth.

8. Natural Navigation Aid

Indigenous peoples of Australia, such as the Torres Strait Islanders, have long used the Great Barrier Reef as a natural navigation aid, with its unique features serving as landmarks for seafaring journeys.

9. Underwater Rainforests

Just like forests on the ground, the Great Barrier Reef is a thriving ecosystem teeming with life. Environmentalists refer to coral reefs as the “rainforests of the sea” because of their rich biodiversity and complex relationships.

10. Tourist Magnet

Each year, millions of visitors flock to the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel, dive, and explore its mesmerizing underwater landscapes. Tourism provides crucial support for conservation efforts and helps raise awareness about the importance of protecting this natural wonder for future generations.

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