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The Grat Barrier Reef - Referat

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, composed of 3.000 individual reefs and 900 islands. But there are just a few islands allowed to visit for the protection of the reef. Its over 2000 kilometres long and covers an area of 344.400 square miles and is bigger then Italy. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia and it’s the state symbol of Queensland. The Aborigines called it “Waga Gaboo”, the great reef. The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and its sometimes called as the single largest organism in the world. CNN has labelled it as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and in1981 the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Culture Organization) selected it as a World Heritage Site. In the reef live over 2000 types of fishes and almost 10.000 types of rare aquatic animals. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The reef is divided up into 4 sections:
Far Northern Section
Cairns Section
Central Section
Southern Section
The reef was discovered between 1766 and 1769 by the Frenchman Louis Antoine de Bougainville. But the name it has got from Matthew Flinders, who made a map of the reef in the 19 century. In this time the reef was a big danger for the sailors and not passable. So many ships sank. Things like this happens also today. Between 1985 and 2001 were many accidents of ships in the reef, but this was human error.
The reef arose ago 20 million years, but just one part another part is just 600.000 years old. The reef is made up of million little organisms, known as coral polyps. These polyps produced lime and through the lime arose the reef. The reef get his fascinating colours from algae. These algae live in corals. They are 400 different kinds of corals.
Corals need to live clean and at least 20 degree warm water, but because of global warming, water pollution and overfishing, explorer think, that the reef will be completely destroyed in 50 years. 50.000 coral reef communities are destroyed because of tourists. And also because of diving, boats, hurricanes and drilling for oil.
Every year 8 million tourists visit the reef and in 2003 they spent over 4 million Australian dollar.

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