One topic that came to mind while researching this paper was the Great Barrier Reef, which I had wanted to research for my presentation, but information was more abundant for the topic I did choose. The size of the reef and its tourist potential are great in their respective ways. The reef is the largest of its kind extending 2300 km along the North East Coast of Australia from Cape York to the northern part of South Queensland. Most may believe that the reef alone is one large organism, but is amazingly a network of roughly 2900 individual reefs to form one large reef that is roughly the size of the U. K. The remains of what are called polyps form the reef.
New polyps grow everyday, which means that the reef is growing still today. The dead polyps form the white structures of the reef while the live polyps give it its color. For the reef to survive, the waters around it must be greater than 18 degrees Centigrade, the sunlight must be able to penetrate the water, and the water must be clean and salty. As I stated previously, this is the most extensive reef system anywhere in the world. It is also the largest structure that is made completely of living organisms. It is the breeding area of a number of marine life and endangered species.
The humpback whale travels here from the Antarctic to give birth to their young. Also, six of the seven species of sea turtle travel here to breed on the reef. The entire ref is a marine park with zones that have different uses of water activities with the exception of fishing or collecting. These activities extend to the actual life in the reef. The corals are an animal in the jellyfish family, but they contain a solid limestone skeleton. During the day, the coral put themselves into the form of the skeleton to camouflage as a rock to hide from their predators.
The plants of the reef are not very visible, but are important food to the life that lives on and around the reef. They produce sugars through photosynthesis, which the coral absorb for up to 90% of their food. The corals provide shelter for the plants and are a good source of carbon dioxide. There are also over 1500 different kinds of fish that call the reef home, and each had their own job to keep the reef healthy. These fish of different variety can be seen by snorkeling and diving, but one must move slowly to keep from scaring the fish away.
The Great Barrier reef is a beautiful stretch that makes up much of the tourism of Australia. Pictures in books and magazines, I'm sure, are no match for the beauty and spectacle that is the reef. With people to protect it and the marine life doling their jobs, the reef should be there forever, and possible grow to even larger proportions. Work Cited web.