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Table of Contents
See the fact file below for more information on Great Barrier Reef or alternatively, you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Geology and Geography
- The Great Barrier Reef was formed as a result of coral reef growth on the Coral Sea Basin, just off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
- Around 24 million years ago, Queensland began drifting into more suitable tropical water in which coral could grow.
- The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority estimates that the oldest and most complete reef structures showed up around 600,000 years ago.
- As the sea levels have risen over the years, so too have the coral reefs. Some small islands became submerged, which provided optimal spaces for coral to grow over top of.
- The World Heritage Area for the Great Barrier Reef includes 70 bioregions.
|Type of Reef||Description|
|Fringing Reefs||Grows directly from the shoreline and has a very shallow, or non-existent, backreef zone.|
|Lagoonal Reefs||Held together by coral, and are sometimes called the “rainforests of the sea”.|
|Crescentic Reefs||Crescent-shaped reefs with and open-back reef area.|
|Planar Reefs||Flat reefs; found in the Northern and Southern parts of the reef.|
- The Great Barrier Reef supports a wide variety of plant and marine animal life.
- There are several species of endangered plants and animals that rely on the nutrients and protection of The Great Barrier Reef to continue to survive.
- Saltwater crocodiles live in areas surrounding the reef, as well as 30 species of dolphins and porpoises.
- More than 1500 fish species live in and among the reef, which is also home to 17 species of sea snakes.
- The green sea, leatherback sea, hawksbill, loggerhead sea, and the flatback turtle all live in the reef. The Olive Ridley sea turtle also calls The Great Barrier Reef home.
- Other species found in and around the reef include:
– 215 species of birds
– 330 species of ascidians
– 125 species of sharks and stingrays
– 49 species of pipefish
– 9 species of seahorses
– 7 species of frogs
– Nearly 5000 species of mollusc
- On the northern and southern regions of the reef, 1.4-1.7 million birds go to breed each year.
- The islands of The Great Barrier Reef are home to 2195 species of plants – the northern islands tend to have more woody plants, while the south have more herbaceous plants.
Environmental Impact and Climate Change
- Some of the threats facing The Great Barrier Reef include:
– Climate change
– Accidental oil spills
– Shipping accidents
– Tropical cyclones
- Ocean warming causes coral bleaching, which is when coral expels the algae that live inside them. This is caused when the water temperature becomes too warm.
- Algae provides coral with 90% of its nutrients, so when it becomes expelled, the coral begins to starve, and will usually begin to die.
- Between 2014 and 2016, the longest global bleaching occurred, which removed 29-50% of The Great Barrier Reef’s coral.
- Bleaching can be triggered by many events, including but not limited to:
– Oxygen starvation
– Increased sunlight
– Bacterial infections
– Changes to the salinity of the water
- During tropical events, such as a cyclone, the rivers and bodies of water around the reef flood and pollute the reef.
- Farming fertilizer runoff can also seep into the water and pollute the reef by releasing harmful chemicals.
Great Barrier Reef Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use Great Barrier Reef worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about The Great Barrier Reef which is the largest coral reef system in the world. It is located off the coast of Queensland in Australia.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- Great Barrier Reef Facts.
- The Crown-of-Thorns Starfish.
- True or False?
- Saving the Great Barrier Reef.
- Picture Labelling.
- Newspaper Article.
- Great Barrier Reef Wordsearch.
- Scavenger Hunt.
- Types of Fish.
- Opinion Paragraph.
- Great Barrier Reef Crossword.
Link/cite this page
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Link will appear as Great Barrier Reef Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 8, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.