The Great Barrier Reef is a chain of islands and coral reefs located in the Coral Sea on the coast of Australia. This is the huge reef system on earth, composed of about 3,000 coral reef and some 900 islands. Dates from 18 million. years. Starting from the Tropic of Capricorn and reaches New Guinea, and north up to Toresoviya Strait separating New Guinea from Australia. Its length is 2500 km and its width varies between 2 and 150 km. It occupied 15,000 varieties of fish. And the area is greater than that of the UK - 344,400 sq.km. Most of the reefs are formed coral islands. It is the largest object of life on Earth and can be seen from space. It consists of millions of organisms - coral polyps - named for one of the wonders of the world. Because of its high biodiversity, easy access and warm water is a very popular place for tourists and divers. Some of the islands and resorts.
There are suggestions that people were aware of the Great Barrier Reef 40,000 years ago. From then dates the existence of the indigenous peoples of the continent of Australia. From modern Europeans first met with reef accidentally researcher James Cook. On 06/11/1770, in 11 hours stuck in the ship "Endeavour" right on the coral reef. Cook met Aborigines - local, low and dark-skinned people. Much later, at the end of the 19th century coral reef and studied in more detail, because exports of pearls and sea cucumbers harvested reef.
Vulnerability associated with corals is strictly limited parameters of the environment. The water temperature can not be less than 17,5 ° C. Therefore, the coral reef is distributed in the south of the Tropic of Capricorn. The salinity of the water in which the corals grow is also limited parameters - this is why the barrier reef not pass the borders of New Guinea - where River Fly brings a huge amount of unsalted water in the ocean.
Major damage to the balance of the reef causing the so-called tropical storms. Another significant disadvantage of overpopulation are starfish that feed the coral polyps. Today, coral reefs are the most threatened by human activities are polluting coastal waters. Another threat to the survival of the reef is linked to global warming, leading to bleaching of the reef. The temperature rises even degree, living in the algae die polyps. Discolored colonies stop growing and are more easily destroyed by the waves of the ocean.