Great Barrier Reef


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Great Barrier Reef,

largest complex of coral reef in the world, c.1,250 mi (2,000 km) long, in the Coral Sea, forming a natural breakwater for the coast of Queensland, NE Australia. Composed of more than 2,800 individual reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon from 10 to 100 mi (16–161 km) wide. In some places it is more than 400 ft (122 m) thick. The coral in the reef is threatened, however, by predation by the crown-of-thorns starfish, by damage caused by cyclones (hurricanes), and by increasing and recurring coral bleaching due to climate change. Although the Australian government declared the reef a marine sanctuary in 1975, a 2012 study estimated that half of the coral had disappeared since 1985, with losses much greater in some areas than others.

A major tourist attraction, the reef has many islets, coral gardens, and unusual marine life. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, more than 130,000 sq mi (340,000 sq km), encompasses most of the reefs and interreefal areas as well as the neighboring lagoon and a large section of the continental shelf. It is the largest UNESCO World Heritage Area. Known to Australian aborigines for thousands of years, the reef was discovered by the Western world when Capt. James CookCook, James,
1728–79, English explorer and navigator. The son of a Yorkshire agricultural laborer, he had little formal education. After an apprenticeship to a firm of shipowners at Whitby, he joined (1755) the royal navy and surveyed the St.
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's ship ran aground there in 1770; it was explored in the 19th cent. by Matthew FlindersFlinders, Matthew,
1774–1814, English naval captain and hydrographer, noted for his charting and coast surveys of Australia and Tasmania. From 1795 to 1799 and again from 1801 to 1803 he made valuable maps and charts of the water and coasts, circumnavigating both Australia
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 and Charles DarwinDarwin, Charles Robert,
1809–82, English naturalist, b. Shrewsbury; grandson of Erasmus Darwin and of Josiah Wedgwood. He firmly established the theory of organic evolution known as Darwinism.
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.

Bibliography

See R. Endean, Australia's Great Barrier Reef (1983); I. McCalman, The Reef: A Passionate History (2014).

Great Barrier Reef

a coral reef in the Coral Sea, off the NE coast of Australia, extending for about 2000 km (1250 miles) from the Torres Strait along the coast of Queensland; the largest coral reef in the world
References in periodicals archive ?
Even with a decent report card for the first 10 years of stepped-up protection in the Great Barrier Reef, no-take zones face some tough challenges.
However, Australia's federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, believes the government is doing its utmost to ensure the long- term safety of the Great Barrier Reef.
As the best scuba diving destination in the world and an area of extreme adventure and natural beauty, the Great Barrier Reef just seemed like the perfect setting to book the perfect hotel.
If wealthy Australians can't protect and save something as unique and special as the Great Barrier Reef, then nowhere is safe, and our natural world is lost.
Travellers who book the special fare sale will visit one of the world's most alluring destinations, where they can experience the majesty of the Great Barrier Reef, take a tour of the oldest rainforest in the world, get up close and personal with koalas, kangaroos and other native Australian animals, in addition to relaxing and taking in the region's natural wonders.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef, with more than 3,000 individual reef systems and an abundance of marine life.
Inside the Great Barrier Reef, they are in shallower and protected waters.
A frozen repository of Great Barrier Reef coral sperm and embryonic cells is being built by researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Fort Royal, Va.
There are major cities, the Outback, Ayers Rock, the rainforests, Great Barrier Reef and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world - and much more.
Australian authorities have said they will question the crew of a Chinese-registered ship that ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef to find out why they were sailing in a restricted area.
A 2007 report by the UN warned' that global climate change could kill the Great Barrier Reef within decades.
Much has changed over the intervening time, including environmental perceptions of tropical reefs in general and the Great Barrier Reef in particular.

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