The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef

Gabriela Vizueth, Reporter

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world that stretches for 1,430 miles and is home to a variety of marine life, all in different shapes, sizes, and colors. The reef is one of the most sought after places for vacation because of its natural beauty and the fact that it’s one of the seven wonders of the world and gets about 2 million visitors each year. The reef is the most massive living structure on the planet and can be seen from space. Residents of the reef include:

  • 1,625 different species of fish
  • more than 600 different types of hard and soft corals
  • 133 different varieties of sharks and rays
  • 30 species of whales and dolphins
  • 17 species of sea snakes
  • 6/7 of the world’s various species of marine turtles
  • 215 different types of seabirds and land birds

The Great Barrier Reef is about 500,000 years old, but it looked the same back then as it does now. However, the sea level does impact the shape it takes. The current shape is about 6,000-8,000 years old. According to scientists, the existing reef began to form during The Last Glacial Maximum. The Last Glacial Maximum caused significant environmental changes in the region and caused dramatic drops in sea level even. The reef itself is split into 30 different regions that are made of different types of reefs.

  • Crescentic Reefs– shaped like a crescent and are the most common type of reef.
  • Flat Reefs or Planar Reefs 
  • Ribbon Reefs
  • Fringing Reefs 
  • Lagoonal Reefs 

The Great Barrier Reef is more than just a tourist spot and a name on your bucket list. This amazing reef is home to so many different sea creatures and is built by actual living creatures.