Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living system on earth, covering 2000km from north to south. So large that it can even be seen from space
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living
system on earth, covering 2,000km from north to south. So large
that it can even be seen from space!
Running down much of the coastline of north
eastern Australia, this World Heritage site is the world's largest
structure built by living organisms and is one of the few such
structures visible from space.
The incredible diversity of life is unmatched
elsewhere, with only rainforests coming close. This biodiversity
includes over 350 species of coral, 2,000 species of fishes and
over 4,000 species of molluscs.
Colour plays an important role with many of the animals found on
the Great Barrier Reef. Like birds in a rainforest, the multitudes
of fish use colours and patterns to recognise members of their own
species and to convey important information such as sex and status
within the school. The diverse colours of corals are provided by
the different species of algae which live within their tissues,
converting sunlight into food for the coral.
This profusion of colour can be seen in the Great Barrier Reef
exhibit, which displays an extensive range of fish species as well
as a number of different soft and hard corals. Through the numerous
windows looking into the main oceanarium you will see hundreds of
tropical reef fish living side by side with sharks and
Situated off the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is
home to approximately:
- 1,500 fish species
- 400 coral species
- 4,000 molluscs species
- 500 seaweed species
- 215 bird species
- 16 sea snake species
At around 2 million litres, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium's Great
Barrier Reef exhibit is the world's largest, highlighting the
enormous variety of life in this habitat.
Here you'll see clown anemone fish dart amongst the waving
tentacles of an anemone, sea stars and sea cucumbers silently
creeping amongst the coral, wildly coloured triggerfish and
vibrantly coloured tangs and angelfish zipping around then suddenly
stopping in their tracks to be attended to by a tiny cleaner
wrasse, deceptively beautiful lionfish hovering menacingly over
coral formations in search of their next meal, brilliantly
patterned lobsters waving their long antennae about and sleek
tropical sharks seeming to move in time with the music.
By the time you reach the Reef Theatre, with its floor to ceiling
window into the oceanarium and captivating music, you just will not
want to leave!
Turns out it's not just coral that are
negatively impacted by sea temperature rises. Recent research
funded by the SEA LIFE Conservation Fund has found sea anemones are
also extremely sensitive to increases in temperatures putting
Nemo's home at risk. Find out more about this
Napoloen Wrasse: Meet our big boy who used to be a big girl!
Smalltooth Sawfish: Bizarre, beautiful and endangered