[2013] Bella Ronan: The Great Barrier Reef Bella Ronan

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by JulesW5
Last updated 8 years ago

Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Animals
Grade:
5

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[2013] Bella Ronan: The Great Barrier Reef Bella Ronan

The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space. Tropical coral reefs do not grow below a depth of 50m. Over 4000 species of fish inhabit the tropical coral reefs. It is 5 times the size of Tasmania and half the size of Italy. Coral reefs are in serious decline globally. An estimated 30% are already severely damaged, and close to 60% may be lost by 2030.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to more then 1,500 species of fish and 411 types of hard corals, 134.species of sharks and sting rays,six of the world's seventh species are turles, 630 species of star fish and sea urchins, 215 birds and 1222of them are sea birds. The water at the Great Barrier Reef has to be between 18 and 29 degrees.The Great barrier Reef is filled with many endangered animals and some common animals.

Great Barrier Reef

Do you really want animals in the Great Barrier Reef dying because of pollution,such as turtles, that think that plastic bags are jelly fish, they try to eat the bag and then suffocate. It could also get stuck around their neck which would stop them from breathing. Do you really want that to happen to all of the animals in the Great Barrier Reef?

In each coral polyp lives zooxanthellae which is an algae that helps provide the beautiful colours of many corals, and gives off nutrients and oxygen which helps the coral survive. In return the coral polyp gives carbon dioxide to the algae which it needs. This process is called symboisis which means two organisms working together to live.

Overfishing:Reefs are suffering directly and indirectly from the increasing pressure of mans' resource exploitation (Reef Education Network). Overfishing is one driving pressure that has had devastating impacts on coral reefs. Aggressive fishing methods have hurt coral reefs sometimes beyond repair. However, over-fishing in general is also a damaging problem to many coral reefs around the world. Specifically to the Great Barrier Reef, overfishing has caused a shift in the reef ecosystem. Overfishing of certain species near coral reefs can easily affect the reef's ecological balance and biodiversity (Reef Education Network.)Climate Change:Climate change has had a significant impact on the marine environments throughout the world. Global warming is caused by the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases trap in solar radiation to keep the heat within the atmosphere of the earth. Due to the industrial era, greenhouse gases levels have escalated in the past century. The result is intensified solar radiation and higher temperatures throughout the planet, which has a negative effect on marine ecosystems. Higher temperatures will melt the polar ice caps and raise the sea level, some have predicted sea level to rise up to 80cm by the end of the century (AU). The increased UV radiation will hinder the ability of plants and algae to photosynthesize. The result of this is that less energy is available overall in the marine ecosystems. Climate change has a fatal impact on the oceanic environment and more specifically harm the coral reef ecosystems.

Another significant impact humans have had on the coral reef ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef is its pollution problem. There are numerous ways humans have added harmful pollutants into our oceans that can cause serious damage to the fragile ecosystems of the coral reefs. Deforestation, although not directly involved in coral reef destruction, has many indirect effects that cause many issues. Sediment runoff will bring with it many natural and toxic components that can cause harm to the coral ecosystems. There is also sedimentation buildup that occurs at the mouth of the rivers that lead into the oceans. (Coral Reefs, 2004) Another major pollutant is runoff from mining and farming where the minerals get into rivers that flow into the ocean. Farming has specific negative effects with this type of pollution because of the nutrient runoff from the fertilizers used. These fertilizers add nitrogen and phosphorous into the oceanic ecosystem. These nutrients cause massive algae growth that leads to depletion in oxygen available for other creatures and decreasing the biodiversity in those affected areas. (Bell RPF, 1992) It also leads to algae blooms that take over sections of coral, blocking the sunlight and hurting its ability to survive. The coral reefs also have a hard time surviving through human pollution by petroleum leaks and other chemicals that get dumped into the oceans because of its toxicity the environment. Overall human pollution has been a major source for issues involving the Great Barrier Reefs and its struggle to survive in today’s harsh conditions.

Over fishing is killing the popullation in the deap sea.Did you know that a sea-snail paralises there pray and then eats it.Did you know that there is a thing called a sea cucumber.The Sea Cucumber shares the five-part symmetrical body plan. They have an unusual method of respiration: they take in water through their anus to breathe. When disturbed or frightened, some sea cucumbers pour out a mass of sticky white threads to confuse or trap their enemies. Others are capable of releasing toxins which in aquaria have been known to kill all the animals and including the sea cucumbers themselves.


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