Describe the spatial patterns and dimensions of one (1) ecosystem at risk, and analyse the negative impacts of human activity on this ecosystem.

Topics: Coral reef, Great Barrier Reef, Coral Pages: 4 (1355 words) Published: October 12, 2013
Describe the spatial patterns and dimensions of one (1) ecosystem at risk, and analyse the negative impacts of human activity on this ecosystem. One ecosystem at risk that has been studied is the coral reef; The Great Barrier Reef is located off the East coast of Northern Queensland. It stretches approximately 2300km from Papua New Guinea to Fraser Island. Overall the Great Barrier Reef system covers an area of over 348,000km2 making a vast, very complex ecosystem. There is a long history of human activity and use on and of the Great Barrier Reef. Negative impacts on the Great Barrier Reef include climate change, oil spills, tourism, overfishing, land clearing, sewage and waste disposal, coral harvesting and dredging and sand mining. Climate change has impacted Northern Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef as it increases in sea temperature, increases in average sea level, has a change in rainfall patterns. It changes the ocean currents and circulation, which has an increase in El Nino events which cause extreme weather and can damage the reef and cause a large amount of run off from the land, causing turbidity, lowering of salinity on the reef and increased amount of sediment. Extreme weather conditions can also increase the CO2 levels which can also change the chemical structure of the Great Barrier Reef causing coral bleaching. On-going climate change will have and has already caused many consequences for the Great Barrier Reef. This change will and has directly impacted many species of fish, invertebrate, mammals and birds along with many aquatic and terrestrial plants. There are also substantial impacts on the functioning of the reef. The biggest concern about climate change and the Great Barrier Reef is the rise in sea temperature which will affect the movement of water around the reef and the nutrient cycle on the reef which also means the chemical structure which will be altered because of the increased amount of CO2 dissolved into the water. With...
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