The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven Natural Wonder of the world and is on the world heritage list. It is a Coral Reef that stretches 2300m and is so large, it can be seen from space and covers 344,400km squared in area. The Great Barrier Reef is greater in size than the United Kingdom, Holland and Switzerland combined. The reef is full of diverse life, including many different species of fish, coral and other plant and animal life. The array of marine creatures include 600 types of soft and hard corals, more than 100 species of jellyfish, 3000 varieties of molluscs, 500 species of worms, 1625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins. Around 10 percent of the world’s total fish species can be found just within the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef includes the world's largest coral reef ecosystem. The Great Barrier Reef doesn't only host a wild range of marine life, but also has a wide range of avian life, having approximately 215 species of birds that visit the reef or nest or roost on the island.
Climate Change is the biggest threat currently to the health of Great Barrier Reef as it will increase ocean temperatures, which puts stress on the Coral and leads to coral bleaching. The Great Barrier Reef has experienced two mass coral bleaching events in 1998 and 2002. Bleaching was more severe in 2002, when aerial surveys showed that over 50% of reefs experienced some coral bleaching. However, coral bleaching is now becoming a regular occurrence as water temperatures are rising, and, if nothing is done, the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs will soon face large scale death of coral.