You have probably heard of the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living organism on planet earth that is located in the Indian Ocean on the west coast of Australia. If you follow the UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites releases, then you will already know that this ecosystem is like nothing you have seen.
For one, it is the natural habitat of over 1500 fish species, about 175 species of birds, 5000 species of mollusks and as if that is not amazing enough, 360 species of coral reefs. With over 2,900 single standing reefs, covering an area of 20,000 square kilometers, the majestic nature of this reef cannot be gainsaid. In fact, some of these reefs occupy an area of 10,000 hectares.
Sample this; the Great Barrier Reef is home to 600 continental islands and 300 coral cays that feature lush green towering canopies of rainforest and fresh water streams.
Being a major feeding ground, Great Barrier Reef has some of the rarest marine species including the endemic marine turtles. Of course the fish species find a lot of nutritional value from the reef system as does the mollusks and sea urchins. The sea grass that grows on the reef system forms a good grazing ground for such animals as the dugongs.
If you thought that that was all to the Great Barrier Reef, you cannot be further from the truth. The humpback whales find this ecosystem a great breeding ground – mostly because of the warm waters and abundance of food.
The reef system extends all the way to Papua New Guinea. Scientists swear that the reef system is visible from the space, and why not, its surface area is bigger than many countries of the world.
The Aborigines as well as the tribesmen of the Torres Islands consider the Great Barrier Reef part of their natural and cultural heritage. Do not be surprised to find hundreds of rituals and ceremonies that are done to persuade the gods to keep the waters surrounding the reefs safe. Most of these peoples earned, and still earn their livelihoods through fishing in the waters surrounding the reef system.
If given a chance to explore the world marvels, you should opt to snorkel in the greatest ecosystem of all and one of the modern wonders of the world – The Great Barrier Reef.