Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Great Barrier Reef

Marine Life

The Great Barrier Reef: “Underwater photographer David Doubilet made his first trip to Australia's Great Barrier Reef in 1979. Since then, he’s returned 11 times to the 1,400-mile-long (2,254-kilometer-long) kingdom of coral off the Queensland coast,” says NatGeo’s Cathy Newman.
Photo Credit:David Doubilet; National Geographic
Source: NatGeo

An article, by Cathy Newman, in National Geographic looks at one of marine life’s crown 
jewels, the Great Barrier Reef, which forms a colourful part of Australia’s heritage.

Newman writes about the reef:

Raine Island, which is off the Cape York Peninsula, is the jewel of the reef. Every other year it hosts 80,000 green turtles that come to mate and crawl on the island and lay eggs. I went with a scientist who had a permit to work there and swam with hundreds of turtles that moved like underwater clouds. They seemed to appear and disappear because they blend in perfectly with the surrounding reef. Such numbers in one small place makes them very vulnerable. Ten thousand plus turtles would pull themselves ashore at night. It was the Times Square of green sea turtles. As dawn broke, the last females were pulling themselves toward the sea. The island was covered in tracks that looked like a massive amphibious landing. I have never seen anything like it.

The United Nations is considering adding the reef to its list of heritage sites. The reef, like the rest of nature and its inhabitants, is facing a threat from climate change, Doubilet says:
Reefs are the tropical thermometers of the health of the planet. The change is longer in term; it's not like the sea ice that you can see melt. The person living in New Hampshire may not be immediately affected. But it will indicate what will happen eventually. Climate change is in your face.


You can read the rest of the article at [NatGeo