Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a coral reef system comprised of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands over 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) in the vicinity of 344,400 sq kilometers (133,000 sq mi) in Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia . The coral structure is composed of billions of coral polyps as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Australian continent has moved northward at a rate of 7 cm (2.8 inches) per year starting during Kenozoic and the eastern part of a tectonic lifting period that drains in Queensland along 400 kilometers (250 miles). Coral Sea Basin is formed and coral reefs began to grow in the Basin in about 25 million years ago.

Xvlor Great Barrier Reef is spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving at Coral Sea

Xvlor.com Great Barrier Reef is spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving at Coral Sea

The Great Barrier Reef is divided into 70 bioregions where 30 of them are coral bioregions. The area supports the diversity of life, including many vulnerable or endangered species, some of which may be endemic to the reef system.

At least 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises include minke whale (Balaenoptera), humpback dolphin (Sousa) and humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). The large population of Dugong dugon, more than 1,500 species of reef fish included red-throat emperor, clownfish (Amphiprioninae), two-spot red snapper (Lutjanus bohar), snappers (Lutjanidae), and coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus).

At least 49 species of mass spawn, while 84 other species lay elsewhere. At least 17 species of sea snakes live to a depth of 50 meters (160 feet) and are more common in the south than in the north. At least 15 species of seagrass are dominated by Halophila and Halodule.

Sea turtles include green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Australian flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus) and olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) lives in the mangroves and salt marshes near the reef.

At least 125 species of shark, stingrays and kate live on the reef. Nearly 5,000 species of mollusks include giant clam (Tridacna gigas), Nudibranchia and cone snail. At least 49 species of pipefish, 9 species of sea horses and 7 species of frogs inhabit the islands.

215 bird species where 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of beach birds visit coral or nest or perch on the islands including white-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and roseate tern (Sterna dougallii). The islands of the Great Barrier Reef also support 2,195 plant species of 350 woody species and 200 species of herbs.

www.xvlor.com Great Barrier Reef is spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving at Coral Sea

Xvlor Great Barrier Reef is spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving at Coral Sea

Location: Queensland, Australia.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Cairns Airport in Cairns City.

Advice: Coral is the ultimate destination for snorkeling and scuba diving where live aboards are very popular. Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef is concentrated in Cairns and The Whitsundays due to accessibility.

Many cities along the Queensland coast offer daily boat trips to the resort islands including Green Island and Lady Elliot Island. Cruise tours range from a one-day trip to longer voyages with dinghies to superyachts. Glass-bottomed boats, underwater observatories and helicopter flights are also popular. Snorkeling and diving often use pontoons.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has placed many permanent anchor points around common use areas to reduce damage to reefs.

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