The reef is the largest of its kind extending 2300 km along the North East Coast of Australia from Cape York to the northern part of South Queensland. Most may believe that the reef alone is one large organism, but is amazingly a network of roughly 2900 individual reefs to form one large reef that is roughly the size of the U.K.
The remains of what are called polyps form the reef. New polyps grow everyday, which means that the reef is growing still today. The dead polyps form the white structures of the reef while the live polyps give it its color. For the reef to survive, the waters around it must be greater than 18 degrees Centigrade, the sunlight must be able to penetrate the water, and the water must be clean and salty.
As I stated previously, this is the most extensive reef system anywhere in the world. It is also the largest structure that is made completely of living organisms. It is the breeding area of a number of marine life and endangered species. The humpback whale travels here from the Antarctic to give birth to their young. Also, six of the seven species of sea turtle travel here to breed on the reef.
The entire ref is a marine park with zones that have different uses of water activities with the exception of fishing or collecting. These activities extend to the actual life in the reef. The corals are an animal in the jellyfish family, but they contain a solid limestone skeleton. During the day, the coral put themselves into the form of the skeleton to camouflage as a rock to hide from their predators.
The plants of the reef are not very visible, but are important food to the life that lives on and around the reef. They produce sugars...