Belize Barrier Reef
Axia Student University of Phoenix
We are going to look at the ecological uniqueness of the plants and animal life found in the Belize Barrier Reef. There is great diversity of life form found in this area so I am going to try to identify and describe them. In addition, I am going to try to describe the internal relationship among the life forms. Is the human intrusion threatening the area? What protection exists to help preserve this area, also what has been done to ensure this protection as well as what can I do to help preserve it.
First I would like to explain where it is that the Belize Barrier Reef is located and how big it is. If you were to go to Northern Belize, you would find the Reef approximately 1,000 feet off the shoreline, and if you were to go to the Southern part of Belize, the Reef is as far as 25 miles of the shoreline. The Belize Barrier Reef measure to be about 3,000 meters long and is a part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Coral reefs in general have the largest diversity of life forms known.
Just to name of few of the life forms one might find in a reef would include 65 different types of coral species including both hard and soft coral, both of which you will find in the Belize Barrier Reef. There are over 300 species of fish that are living in the reef area and 178 different plant species.
The hard corals considered the reef builders they are very strong and have a hard stony structure it is “actually the dead skeletons of many generations of coral polyps piled on top of each other” that created the reefs. (Coastal Treasures of Belize ¶4) Some of the different types of coral one might find would be hydrocorals and octocorals. Hydrocorals are hard corals where the octocorals would be soft corals, each having skeletons.
Let us look at some of the fish that we might come across if we were to go snorkeling over the Belize Barrier Reef or scuba diving into the deep sea. According to the New World Encyclopedia, there are not only common fish but also “threatened species, including mud turtles, manatees, and the American crocodile.” (¶10) However, there is also wide variety of gaming fish, the kind that man goes out to catch. Just to name a few would be fish like the tarpon, grouper, cobia, and even barracuda. Some other well known fish can be found around as well, angle fish, parrot fish, eels, and sting ray to name a few. Oh yes and let us not forget about the sharks and dolphins that inhabit this area.
Therefore, we have looked at what can be seen by human’s eye, whether it is from the boat, we are in or through the goggles covering our eyes when we are diving. What about the not so visible creatures that are living in the little nooks and crannies found throughout the Reef itself? There are crabs, and conches, sponges and seahorse, and little tiny gobies that hide in dark little spots.
Corals and fish are not the only living things that can be found living on or around the Reef, you will find many plants as well. Most of the plant life found is a form of algae such as brown algae, red algae and even green algae all of these are very important in the survival of the reef and its occupants. You will also find sea grass in which will work as a filter for food, mostly turtle sea grass.
We have looked at the great diversity of life form that are found in and around the Belize Barrier Reef, but what is the Biological interrelationship among all of these life forms? First let us define Biological interrelationship; Biological interrelationship means that there are direct and indirect relationships among all of the living organisms in the universe.
Let us start with the growth of the reef itself, the life and death of the hard shell coral are the main source of the formation of the reef....