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The Great Barrier Reef Ecosystem

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Sarah Rowe

on 19 September 2014

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Transcript of The Great Barrier Reef Ecosystem

The Great Barrier Reef Ecosystem
Producers in ecosystem
Producers are make the source of food for the consumers. Producers that are found in the coral reef are zooxanthellae, sponges, seaweed, corraline algae, marine worms, marine algae, plankton, phytoplankton.

Herbivores/Primary Consumers
A herbivore is an animal that feeds on plants. The coral reef ecosystem relies on herbivorous fish to keep algae populations in check. Algae often compete with corals for sunlight, nutrients and space, and fish eating these competitive algae are extremely beneficial to maintain a healthy reef. For example, many parrotfish species specialise in eating hard algae and surgeon fish and tangs often eat softer types of algae.
The Great Barrier Reef is a popular tourist attraction along with being one of the most popular scuba diving place in the world
It also has 411 types of hard coral and one-third of the world's soft corals.
The Great Barrier Reef has over 1500 species of fish
The Great Barrier Reefs ecosystem
The Great Barrier Reef contains 14 coastal ecosystems, all of which are important to making the Reef function. The 14 ecosystems are: coral reefs, lagoon floor, islands, open water, seagrasses, coastline, estuaries, freshwater wetlands, forested floodplain, health and shrub lands, grass and sledge lands, woodlands, forests and rainforests. All these ecosystems equip important links between land, freshwater and marine environments, along with breeding and feeding grounds for many marine species. If anything effects these coastal ecosystems can lead to a range of damaging environmental impacts and to the industries that are dependent on the Great Barrier Reef. The ecosystem that we are focusing on is coral reefs.
Above view of the Great Barrier Reef
A decomposer is an organism, usually a bacterium or fungus that breaks down the cells of a dead plants, animals or just decaying organisms into simpler substance, carrying out the natural process of decomposition. Some of the decomposers in the Great Barrier Reef is fan worms, sea cucumbers, snails, crabs, bristle worms and bacteria.
Abiotic factors
Abiotic factors are a nonliving condition or thing, as climate or habitat that influences or affects an ecosystem and the organisms in it. Examples of abiotic factors in the great barrier reef are light which helps with growth of coral and its survival, nutrients which also helps with the survival of coral and water movement which helps wash away waste and bring new food.
Omnivore/Secondary Consumer - definition, examples and picture
An omnivore is an animal that eats food from the source of both animals and plants. An example of an omnivore in the Great Barrier Reef is the emperor angel fish that eats a variety of food sources such as plants, animals, algae, fungi and bacteria.
Location and Map
Carnivore/Tertiary Consumer - definition, example and picture
A carnivore, at the topmost level of the food chain, feeds on other carnivores. It is an animal that only feeds on secondary consumers. An example of tertiary consumers/carnivores is the great white shark, where basically all of their food is meat.
The Great Barrier Reef is on Australia’s north-eastern coast, a part of the Coral Sea. The Reef begins at the tip of Cape York Peninsula in the north and continuing down to Bundaberg in the south. It is popular and ideal for scuba diving. The area encompasses approximately 348,000km2, stretching from the low water mark of the mainland including all islands, internal waters if Queensland and Seas and Submerged Land Act exclusions. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living organism, so large it is visible from space! The location is so remarkable with its natural beauty and biodiversity. The physical size of the reef is larger than Switzerland, Holland and the UK combined and in Australian terms, is larger than Tasmania and Victoria combined.
Map of where the Great Barrier Reef is on the map
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres

Address of the Great Barrier Reef
QLD 4810
By the utterly amazing, absolute legends Sarah, Imogen, Emma and Kate
Biotic factors
Food Web - illustrated
Mutualistic Relationship
Endangered/extinct species
Problems facing the ecosystem – disasters, environmental problems, human influence
Problems facing the ecosystem- introduced species
Most of the invasive marine species that have been introduced to Australian waters have been done so accidentally through shipping activities and mariculture. Australia does a large amount of trade with South-east Asia and the similarity of marine environments increase the risk of introducing marine species. Boats such as Yachts and smaller vessels can also unintentionally provide a mechanism for transporting marine invaders either as fouling or in ballast water.
There are a number of problems facing the ecosystem. Some of which are: climate change, pollution, outdated fishing practice and industrialisation. All these factor have taken its toll on the reef. Climate change is the biggest threat to the reef and its future. The consequences of climate change is already affecting the reef and will continue to do so for years to come. Pollution to the reef comes from sediment, nutrient and pesticide from catchment run-off. This is having a huge impact on the health and resilience of the reef’s ecosystem. Sediment flowing into the marine park has quadrupled in amount over the past 150 years. Outdated fishing practice puts the reef under pressure. Some fishing practices (e.g. trawling for prawns) are only permitted in over one-third of the marine park. This results in untargeted fish capture (bycatch), and damage to the seafloor and its resident plants and animals. Industrialisation is putting the GBR under threat from the most widespread, rapid and damaging set of industrial developments in Queensland’s history. The Australian Government is considering approval of developments such as dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of seabed and rock and encouraging increased shipping through the narrow straits between reefs, which the Queensland Government already doing. They are also considering approval of the world’s biggest coal port at Abbot Point, 50 km from the Whitsunday Islands.
A mutualistic relationship is when two organisms of different species "work together," each benefiting from the relationship. An example of this in the Great Barrier Reef is a whale uses little fish and other small organisms that cling around its body. The fish and other organisms eat the algae and smaller organisms that grow on the whale. These fish and organism help the whale by cleaning around its body.

Biotic factors are all of the living things in an environment. Examples of biotic factors in the Great Barrier Reef are coral because it is a main food source for many organisms in the reef. Sharks are also a biotic factors a biotic as they are the main predator that feed on almost anything. Fish such as the clown fish as it has a mutualism relationship with the sea anemone.
The list of protected species for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park includes:

* Some shells - helmet shells, triton shells, tridacnid clams

* Some fish - seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons, potato cod, Queensland grouper, barramundi cod, Maori wrasse, all groupers (Epinephelus) more than 100 cm

* Some sharks - whale shark, grey nurse shark, great white shark, freshwater and green sawfish

* Sea snakes

* Marine turtles

* Birds

* Seals

* Whales and dolphins

* Dugong.
Mutualistic Relationships
A mutualistic relationship is when two organisms depend on eachother for survival.

eg. "A sea anemone makes an ideal home for a clownfish. Its poisonous tentacles provide protection from predators and a clownfish makes its meals from the anemone’s leftovers."

"A clownfish can help an anemone catch its prey by luring other fish toward over so that the anemone can catch them. Clownfish also eat any dead tentacles keeping the anemone and the area around it clean.
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