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The Great Barrier Reef

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Tara Moore

on 29 May 2014

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Transcript of The Great Barrier Reef

Abiotic Factors
Bibliography
Biotic Factors
Biotic factors of The Great Barrier Reef are the living components of the ecosystem, they include: coral, animals (such as sea turtles, crabs, sea urchins ,fish, sharks, eels, dolphins and seals), plants (like seaweed and plankton) and bacteria. These animals, plants and decomposers fit into a food web, which keeps balance to the ecosystem.

Introduction
The Great Barrier Reef is situated on the east coast of Queensland and covers 344,400 km2 in area. It is so large, that it can even be seen from the moon, being described as a long, thin streak of white on the east coast of Australia. A diverse range of marine life call this reef system home, including; clams as old as 120 years, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sea snakes, fish and coral.
The Great Barrier Reef
Guillaume Capron. 2010. Great Barrier Reef. [ONLINE] Available at: http://anickandlucproject.weebly.com/abiotic-factors.html. [Accessed 15 April 14].
Cara Batema, Demand Media. 2012. The Major Biotic and Abiotic Components of the Ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef. [ONLINE] Available at: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/major-biotic-abiotic-components-ecosystem-great-barrier-reef-31685.html. [Accessed 15 April 14].
World Wildlife Fund. 2014. Threats to the Great Barrier Reef. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/saving_the_natural_world/oceans_and_marine/priority_ocean_places/great_barrier_reef/threats/. [Accessed 15 April 14].
Nation Ocean Service. 2013. What is Coral Bleaching?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coral_bleach.html. [Accessed 15 April 14].
Oceana. 2012. What is Ocean Acidification?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://oceana.org/en/our-work/climate-energy/ocean-acidification/learn-act/what-is-ocean-acidification. [Accessed 11 April 14].
Zell, L.Z, 2012. The Great Barrier Reef; A journey through the world's greatest natural wonder. 1st ed. Sydney: Murdoch.


How We Can Help
There are many ways to help save The Great Barrier Reef; by contacting organisations such as WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and participating in their projects such as the Reef Appeal 2014, or volunteering your time to go up to QLD and do hands on work, reducing carbon dioxide by using alternative methods of travel like bikes or walking, or even just spread the word and raise awareness!

Threats
Food Webs
A food web is a diagram that shows the prey and predators of Biotic features in a certain Ecosystem. At the bottom are the producers or autotrophs (algae and plankton), then the primary consumers which eat the producers (herbivorous fish and zooplankton), the secondary consumers then eat the primary (sea turtles, some fish like barrimundi), next are the tertiary consumers (sharks such as tigersharks), finally the decomposers (that eat the remains of other biotic features).
Abiotic factors of the Great Barrier Reef are the components of the ecosystem which are not living, (sunlight , temperature , salt, water density, light penetration, buoyancy, viscosity and gases). Abiotic features makes the environment for the Biotic features to live in.

Abiotc factors are really important to the ecosystem. Sunlight enables photosynthesis to keep the food chain healthy. Viscosity and buoyancy contribute to the movement of fish and sea mammals. The density of the Great Barrier Reef changes with the depth, which changes the bitoic components which can live in certain depths of water. The salinity of the ocean is greater than the fresh water ecosystems, and the biotic features that live near the mouth of where a stream enters the sea, have to deal with the varying salinty levels.
Just like in every ecosystem, there are many threats to the Great Barrier Reef. The major threats are: coral bleaching (due to change in conditions such as; temperature, light, or nutrients, turning them white), climate change (which leads to coral bleaching) and ocean acidification (when carbon dioxide mixes with seawater and creates carbonic acid, which increases the acidity of the water). Other threats are; pollution, overfishing, introduced species and industrialisation.


Changes overtime
Changes overtime
The changes we see in the Biotic factors, exist only because the Abiotic features are changing.

Over the past 30 years sea temperatures have risen, meaning that the Coral are now in their "normal" temperature zone. However, when temperatures increase again, maybe in summer, the Coral will go under Thermal Stress. Thermal Stress causes Coral bleaching, which can be fatal. In fact it has been the main cause of coral death around the world for 20 years. Ocean Acidification has also changed the coral living in the Great barrier Reef. The increased acid in the ocean, prevents the coral from strengthening their exoskeletons. This means that when natural disturbances like storms hit, they will have less energy to respond to stress and disease and there will be less reproduction by other marine life.
A lot of things have affected the Abiotic factors of the Great Barrier Reef. The carbon dioxide from cars, ultimately ends up in the sea, increasing ocean acidification which is deadly to certain Biotic factors. Nutrients in the water have also increased, making it harder for light to penetrate the surface and in turn harming the ecosystem
The Biotic factors of an ecosystem depend on the Abiotic features, which are essential to the living organisms. So, if the salanity is high, only biotic features who can live in that condition would be found in the ecosystem. For example, coral would not survive without sunlight, so it lives in sea areas with good ight penetration.
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