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), by sedimentation caused by human activities, 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. High water temperatures in the late 2010s damaged large areas, killing about a third of the reef's corals.

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 ?
The most impacted zone stretches 700 kilometers (about 435 miles) of the northern area of the Great Barrier Reef, scientists say.
Now in its seventeenth year, the Authoritys Reef Guardian Schools program includes more than 270 schools and over 114,000 Queensland students within the Great Barrier Reef catchment, who are committed to reducing their impacts on the Reef.
"It's not too late for the Great Barrier Reef, and people who think that have a really profound misconception about what we know and don't know about coral resilience."
The Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 supports the staged roll-out of broadened and enhanced Reef protection regulations to all Reef regions and all relevant industries.
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, which has faced the uncertainty of Labor threats prior to the last election, is now in a position to develop national and international corporate partnerships to support its $443 million of Federal funding and its work with communities, scientists and Traditional Owners.
The Great Barrier Reef isn't the only major ecological system that will be affected by climate change.
So it will be able to pick up corals and other reef building organisms, and then bring them into the Great Barrier Reef," he said.
'The Great Barrier Reef is certainly threatened by climate change, but it is not doomed if we deal very quickly with greenhouse gas emissions,' Hughes said.
But we must remember that the Great Barrier Reef is important for us throughout the world because of all the oxygen it produces.
Corals grown in one part of the Great Barrier Reef have been successfully transplanted in another part.
Sydney: Coral bred in one part of the Great Barrier Reef was successfully transplanted into another area, Australian scientists said Sunday, in a project they hope could restore damaged ecosystems around the world.

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