Human Impact on the Great Barrier Reef

Topics: Coral, Coral reef, Great Barrier Reef Pages: 2 (529 words) Published: May 13, 2012
Do we need to change our human habits to ensure the Great Barrier Reef’s Future? The Great Barrier Reef is the home of some of the most varied ecosystems and naturally productive habitats. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest group of coral in the world with more than 2,900 separate reef spanning or 1,600 miles. The Great Barrier Reef is known as the largest living organism in the world. The barrier reef includes coral polyps, sponge beds, mangrove forests, and sea grass. The balanced eco system of the Great Barrier Reef is one that is very sensitive to even slightest human effect. Human action has not only affected the corals, but also the surrounding creatures that share these systems. The question that we want to answer is do we change our actions to protect the Great Barrier Reef?

Overfishing is one of our habits that has had a negative impact on the Great Barrier reef by causing major disruptions to the food chain. A domino effect results when overfishing occurs in the Great Barrier Reef. Fishing for a particular species affects not only that species, but it also affects the animals and or plants in both directions along the food chain - the predators and the prey of the fish will both be affected, and changes to them will also affect their predators and prey, and so on. Overfishing of herbivorous fishes can lead to high levels of algae growth. Therefore overfishing can have direct physical impacts on reef environments or create a shortage of certain species.

Global warming that has been induced by human activity has affected the Great Barrier Reef by creating warmer temperatures in the water that will have an adverse effect on these highly productive ecosystems. Increases in sea temperature of 1°C may lead to coral bleaching; the death of coral can cause severe damage to dependent ecosystems. It is predicted that without a reduction in global emissions, the corals of the Great Barrier Reef will be destroyed and coral cover worldwide will...
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