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The Great Barrier Reef

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Michael Raffel

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the biggest coral reef in the world.
It has 400 species of coral including both hard and soft coral.
The crown of thorns star fish preys on
coral polyps large outbreaks of these
fish can devastate coral reefs.
By Michael Raffel
Animals in the Great Barrier Reef
There are thirty species
of dolphins and whales including dwarf minke whale, porpoises, indo pacific humpback dolphin and the humpback whale.
There are 6 species of sea turtles in the great barrier reef the green sea turtle, leather back sea turtle,hawks bill sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle,flat back and the olive ridley.
The Great Barrier Reef
Crown of thorns starfish
There are more than 1500 species of fish that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef. They range in size from the tiny gobies, some of which weigh less than one gram, to the larger bony fishes such as the tusk fish and potato cod, to the massive cartilaginous fishes such as manta rays, tiger sharks and whale sharks. Damsel fish, wrasses and tusk fish are among the most abundant fishes on the reef. Other fish of the Great Barrier Reef include Blenies, butterfly fish, trigger fish, cow fish, puffer fish, angelfish, anemone fish, coral trout, seahorses, sea perch, sole, scorpion fish, hawk fish and surgeon fish.
Fun Facts
The GBR can be seen from outer space.
One of the seven natural wonders of the world.
There are around 125 species of shark, stingray, skates, and chimera that live there
the Great Barrier Reef
All tropical fish
Saltwater crocodiles live in mangrove and salt marshes on the coast near the reef.
More then 1,500 fish including Clown fish, Red bass,red throat emperor, and several species of snapper and coral trout
215 species of birds (including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds) visit the reef or nest or roost on the islands
sharks, they have adapted to water life by All sharks have multiple rows of teeth, and while they lose teeth on a regular basis, new teeth continue to grow in and replace those they lose.

Shark ‘skin’ is made up of a series of scales that act as an outer skeleton for easy movement and for saving energy in the water. The upper side of a shark is generally dark to blend in with the water from above and their undersides are white or lighter colored, blends in with the lighter surface of the sea from below. This helps to camouflage them from predators and prey.

Sharks also have a very acute sense of smell that allows them to detect blood in the water from miles away.
There are Seventeen species of sea snake live in the Great Barrier Reef
There are at least 330 species of ascidians on the reef system
Located in Queens land Australia
short spined urchin
Some aquatic animals that also happen to inhabit in the GBR are Lion fish, Blue ringed octopus,Spotted grouper and the Moray eel
Lichen also inhabits the GBR it is two organisms : algae and fungus
Moray eel
1. The moray eel has 4 fang teeth in the front of their mouth to snatch prey with their very sharp fangs
2. the moray eel has very sharp fangs to grip their prey and to pierce into its body to kill it.
manatees have three fingernails on each flipper and when they get into shallow water the manatee walks on its nails
manatees never stop losing teeth. They grow new teeth in the back of the mouth which push the teeth in the front of the mouth out
The Bearded Gobi lures another fish near the jellyfish and the Jellyfish stings it. Then both the Bearded Gobi and Jellyfish get to eat the stung fish.
Green turtle
Great barrier Reef
lion fish
White tipped reef shark
moray eel
Killer whale
whale shark
green sea turtle
potato cod
puffer fish
hump back whale
olive ridley
Blue ringed octopus
Adult green turtles have a carapace varying in color from black to gray to greenish or brown, often with bold streaks or spots, and a yellowish white plastron.
Each sea turtle has distinctive individual facial markings, similar to fingerprints
The nostrils near the front of the head enabling them to breath with most of the body beneath the surface.
Their mouths are large, and the upper lip is covered in bristles which are used to find and grasp sea grass.
1. On the outside of their body, they also have hundreds of transparent tubes that emerge which allow them to stick to the bottom of the ocean or to move at a very slow pace. 2. These unusual tubes are called “tube feet.” Their tube feet are much longer than the spines outlining their shells and they are also used by the sea urchin to trap food and in respiration.
A sea anemone makes an ideal home for a clown fish. Its poisonous tentacles provide protection from predators and a clown fish makes its meals from the anemone’s leftovers 2. A clown fish can help an anemone catch its prey by luring other fish toward over so that the anemone can catch them. Clown fish also eat any dead tentacles keeping the anemone and the area around it clean
tiger shark
spotted grouper
Indo pacific humpback dolphin
tusk fish
blue damsel fish
brain coral
butterfly fish
leather back sea turtle
hawks bill sea turtle
The pearl fish uses the sea cucumber for a hide-out from predators. The pearl fish will live in the sea cucumber’s anus,[ butt ] backing into the hole tail-first so its head can stick out.
When a predator of the pearl fish comes by, it will bring its head in so it can’t be detected. The sea cucumber is unaffected by this activity.
The decorator crab uses items it finds on the ocean floor to camouflage itself. These crab have bristles on their backs which behave like Velcro, holding bits of the ocean floor in place. Because its shell does not grow with its body, the crab must molt its shell. “Decorations” are recycled after the molting process.
cow fish
decorator crab
sea cucumber
lion fish
ocean floor
trigger fish
Glass shrimp, which are almost completely see through, will attach to the chocolate chip sea star and take on its coloration. This helps the shrimp camouflage itself so it is not eaten by predators.
chocolate chip sea star
glass shrimp
Sea spiders can be parasitic on many types of coral including table corals. In this case, the sea spider is the parasite and the coral is the host. Larvae will pierce individual polyps and live inside them.
The sea spider will then gain food and nutrients from the coral. This helps the sea spider because they don’t have to use energy looking for food. It harms the coral because it could use those nutrients for itself.
Monogenea are small parasitic flatworms that attach to and feed on the skin of hosts, such as the southern fiddler ray. When attached to a host, some flatworms may be virtually invisible to the human eye, which helps protect them from being eaten by other organisms.
The Great Barrier Reef and the mangrove trees have a symbiotic relationship even though they are far apart from each other. The Great Barrier Reef buffers against heavy seas and allows mangrove forests to grow along the coasts near the reefs."
In turn, mangrove forests trap sediments and absorb extra nutrients. Their complex root systems filter the water before it moves out into the ocean. The roots slow the movement of water and cause the sediment to fall to the bottom instead of depositing on the coral as the water moves past it. Therefore both the reef and the mangrove trees benefit from this relationship
The Green turtle is an endangered species. Very endangered. Most green turtles return to the same nesting site every year. Females crawl onto a beach and dig a nest in the sand. They lay anywhere between 100-200 eggs, but only 1 out of every 100 will survive. Green turtles depend on these beaches for their survival. The Great Barrier Reef protects beaches from being worn away. The reef ecosystem benefits turtles by protecting nests and nesting beaches. But if they don't get back in the water they die on land
We might consider our relationship with the reef ammensalism. In this type of relationship, one subject, the reef, is negatively affected and the other, humans, has no affect. Chemical runoff, caused by humans, pollutes water and the reef. Humans also damage the reef when they visit by breaking off pieces or walking on it. Sometimes, boat anchors are dropped or dragged on the reef."

Unfortunately, the true relationship between humans and the reef is a negative – negative one. The reef is in danger of losing many species due to pollution and climate change. And future generations of humans may never be able to appreciate its beauty."

Ideally our relationship with the reef should be mutualism – that is, we should benefit one another.

Here are some of the ways in which people are helping to conserve the reef today:

- The Great Barrier Reef became a marine park in 2004. This means that much of the reef is now protected by the Australian government.

- Fishing near the reef has been restricted to prevent damage caused by fishing nets.

- People are not allowed to take pieces of the reef because the light from a camera can negatively affect the organisms living there.

- Regulated tourism allows for close monitoring of the people around the reef to make sure the reef is safe and protected.

Humans & The Reef
Endangered species
Shells - helmet shells, Triton shells, Tridacnid clams
Fish - seahorses, pipe fish, sea dragons, potato cod, Queensland grouper, Barramundi cod, Maori wrasse, all groupers (Epinephelus) more than 100 cm
Sharks - whale shark, grey nurse shark, great white shark, freshwater and green saw fish
Sea snakes
Marine turtles
Whales and dolphins
sea snake
Climate and weather of the GBR
With loads of sunshine, warm seas, refreshing sea breezes and a warm climate all year round, Tropical North Queensland weather is hard to beat.

The region has two distinct seasons; a winter period of warm temperatures and low rainfall, and a summer period of balmy temperatures and higher rainfall.

Natural Disaster in Great Barrier Reef
After researchers happened across a large area of corals that were dying, their first thought was a disease outbreak of some sort. Upon further investigation, researchers gathered hundreds of samples with photos and conducted tests that determined the destruction to be a natural disaster stemming from low tides and sun exposure. At certain times of the year, the corals are exposed to full sunlight and stripped of their algae causing them to become bleached, stressed, and possibly die.

The Great Barrier Reef is not the only coral to be hit by this natural disaster. It is reported that coral across the Indian Ocean and into what is known as the 'Coral Triangle' are also suffering the same effects. The devastation doesn't stop there, though. It has effected areas of Burma, Singapore, Thailand, and other places throughout the region, as well.

There is some good news that could protect against this silent killer, though. Since weather can be predicted to a certain point, the ability to produce warning systems to enable a less stressful environment for the corals has now become an option. With tidal charts and weather reports, scientist are able to pinpoint the times when factors will be the most damaging. What this means for the coral at this time is still waiting to be seen.

Natural disasters in the Great Barrier Reef
Some of this information I got off of google websites







natural disasters
giant clam
coral polypos
A coral reef consists of coral polyps, which are animals in the jellyfish family, along with algae called zooxanthellae. In return for a cozy, safe place to live, the algae provide the building blocks polyps need to survive and make limestone to build the reef structures. The vast structures that result do more than awe snorkelers
indegenous plants
endangered plants
A coral, named Leptoseris troglodyta,
Lana’s Sawshark
The Great Barrier Reef is home to about 360 species of hard corals including bottlebrush coral, bubble coral, brain coral, mushroom coral, staghorn coral, tabletop coral and needle coral. Hard corals, also known as stony corals, are a group of marine animals that live in shallow tropical waters and are responsible for building the structure of a coral reef. Colonies of hard corals grow in various shapes and sizes such as mounds, plates and branches. As previous coral colonies die, new ones grow on top of the limestone skeletons of their predecessors. Over time, this growth creates the three-dimensional architecture of a coral reef. Colonies of hard corals consist of thousands of small individal invertebrates referred to as coral polyps. Each polyp is radially symmetrical with a tube-like body that has a tentacle-rimmed mouth at the tip that it uses to feed.
Hard corals
bottlebrush coral
Over three hundred species of soft corals have been recorded by scientists studying the species diversity of coral reefs at various locations off Australia's coasts. As many as half of the soft corals found by the researchers are believed to be species not previously known to science. The research was conducted as part of the Census of Coral Reef Ecosystems (or CReefs) program, a global research project aimed at collecting species diversity data for coral reefs around the world.
bubble coral
mushroom coral
staghorn coral
tabletop coral
needle coral
About 5,000 species of mollusks live on the reef.
How the reef formed
The Great Barrier Reef is about 500,000 years old, but it hasn't always looked as it does today. Reefs on Australia's continental shelf have taken on many forms, depending on the sea level, and the current formation is about 6,000 to 8,000 years old.

According to the Australian Institute of Marine Science and other scientific research, the current reef began to form during the Last Glacial Maximum. This period, which occurred from about 26,500 years ago to 19,000 to 20,000 years ago, ushered in significant environmental changes in the region, including a dramatic drop in sea levels.

The land that forms the base of the Great Barrier Reef is the remains of the sediments of the Great Dividing Range, Australia's largest mountain range. About 13,000 years ago, the sea level was 200 feet (61 meters) lower than the current level, and corals began to grow around the hills of the coastal plain, which had become continental islands. The sea level continued to rise during a warming period as glaciers melted. Most of the continental islands were submerged, and the coral remained to form the reefs and cays (low-elevation sandy islands) of today.

flat back sea turtle
Coralline Algae
Turtle Grass
Red Mangrove
Green Alge
Dwarf minke whales visit the Reef every year in June and July. They are baleen whales, which means they feed by straining tiny plankton and krill through comb-like plates on their upper jaws. No-one knows where they come from, or why they gather here.

Humpback whales also pass through every year. They are the fifth largest animal in the world, as big as 600 people.

Irrawaddy and Indo-pacific humpback dolphins live close to the coast of Queensland all year round. They feed on fish in shallow waters, especially in estuaries or river mouths.

Dugongs grow to about 3m long, can weigh 400 kg and live to 70 years old. Dugongs are more closely related to elephants than they are to other marine mammals such as whales or dolphins.

Dugongs have a single calf when they are between 6-17 years old and then have calves only once every 2.5 � 5 years.

Dugongs eat seagrass, and actually 'farm' tasty types of seagrass by cropping their preferred plants.

White-breasted sea eagles live on the coast and islands. They find it hard to take off from the water, so they fish by snatching their prey from the water's surface.

The Roseate tern migrates from the islands of the Great Barrier Reef as far as Japan, and is protected by the Japan Australia Migratory Birds Act.

Raine Island is one of Australia's most significant seabird rookeries and has the greatest number of nesting species (17).

There are over 600 islands in the great barrier reef
Red alge
Halimeda alge
Brown alge
Golden alge
Coralline Algae: pollution
Turtle Grass : overgrazed
Red Mangrove : used for wood
Green Alge : pollution
Red alge : pollution
Carukia barnesi jellyfish
northern Pacific seastar
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