Ecosystems of the Planet - The Great Barrier Reef CS Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Ecosystems of the Planet - The Great Barrier Reef CS Deck (8)
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What is the Location of The Great Barrier Reef?

Off the coast of Queensland, North East Australia


What is the length of The Great Barrier Reef?



What is the number of species?

  • More than 1500 fish species 
  • 400 corals
  • 130 sharks/rays


Value of the reefs to Humans?

  • 2.6 million tourists visit everyday 
  • brings in $6 billion dollars per year
  • 70,000 jobs for locals
  • The fishing value is $1 billion per year 


Value of The Great Barrier Reef to the Planet

  • 10% of world's fish species found in GBR 
  • Reef Acts as natural barrier to coastal storms by protecting the land behind the reef
  • An unparalleled location of ecological importance 


Threats to the GBR's biodiversity

  • Pollution including fertiliser and sediment runs off land into streams and dumps material on the GBR
  • Commercial fishing and tourist fishing both kills fish; whilst corals can also be damaged by contact from people and boat hulls.
  • There have been 280 oil spills in GBR waters in past 30 years 
  • When the conditions are right, they can reach plague proportions and devastate coral reefs by eating coral
  •  When water is too warm, corals will expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. This is called coral bleaching.


Managment of the GBR


  • UNESCO World Heritage status (granted 1981).
  • Supranational funding  means guaranteed reliable income source, irrespective of fortunes of Australian economy 


  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
  • 70 local indigenous groups are involved in the management. 
  • Local involvement empowers people and GBRMPA can use local knowledge and expertise.


  • Improve local farming techniques by having slow runoof in pools, allowing sediment to settle on farms (keeps nutrients in soil on farn and stops silting of rivers, reducing flood risk) and keeping nitrogen out of the runoff (nitrogen causes algal blooms around reefs, which the CoT starfish feed off)
  •  Queensland government set targets of -80% nitrogen runoff and -50% sediment runoff