Coral reefs have been there for over 500 million years with the Great Barrier Reef existing for more than 5000 decades. The Great Barrier Reef boasts of a magnanimous number of marine species including 10000 varieties of sponges, 1500 species of fish, 400 species of coral and 4000 species of molluscs, marking it one of the most valuable natural assets. Additionally, sharks, dolphins, turtles and seasonal sighting of the migrating whales constitute the larger picture.
Its spatial visibility and proclamation as the World Heritage Site speak volumes about the vastness and magnificence of the reef.
Stretching across more than 2300 kilometres along the northeast coast of Australia from the north Queensland to the north of Bundaberg, it is the most extensive biographical feature on the planet. Embracing 350000 square kilometres of the South Pacific Ocean, it contains plenty of room – both above and below the water to accomodate an incredible diversity of marine life.
The divers and snorkelers often find themselves transported to another world inhabited by the most mesmerising creatures of the world, some of which are listed here:
The infinite varieties of colourful, quirky and fascinating fish of the Great Barrier Reef are an absolute treat to the eyes. What’s more? They play a vital role in stabilising the marine ecosystem of the reef, most significantly by clearing off the planktons. You can look forward to spot Sea Butterflies, Parrotfish, Clownfish, Surgeonfish and a few of the vibrant, camouflaged species like the Coral Trout.
There is no shortage of molluscs in the world’s most spectacular natural wonder. With over 4000 species venturing in the water, you’re highly likely to spot them in large numbers. Few of the whacky ones notably flourishing in the serene underwaters are the Worm, Blue Seaslug and the Sea Cucumber.
The majestic marine creatures, whales, are the kings of the Great Barrier Reef. You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the most prominent species of the area – the Minke Whales and Humpback whales on your next diving venture.
Turtles are the most solicited creatures of the deep waters owing to their unique playfulness, gracefulness and curiosity. Seven species of marine turtles are found worldwide, out of which six are present in Australian waters including loggerhead turtle, Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Leatherback turtle, Flatback turtle and Olive Ridley turtle.
They have lived in oceans for 100 million years and form an integral part of numerous innate regional cultures.
The coral reefs wouldn’t sustain without the much-abundant algae, for they provide the food and building blocks of the food chain stabilising the biodiversity of the Great Coral Reef Ecosystem. Algae support and feed the rest of the creatures thriving in water including corals, clams, sponges and fishes.
The marine life is an asset to the Australian economy for being one of the most solicited tourist attractions worldwide. As the most advanced living species on the planet, it’s our inherent duty to keep it conserved and safe.