By Richard Monk
The Great Barrier Reef is a stunning natural sculpture. A key part of the beauty of the area is the Great Barrier Reef biological life.
The Great Barrier Reef is a 1616 mile long coral reef situated off of the coast of Queensland in northern Australia. This humongous coral reef is the largest coral reef system in the world, with over 3000 individual coral reefs and 900 separate islands located within the Great Barrier Reef. People from all over the world come here to explore the thousand year old living coral reef, and see the many different biological species and types of vegetation. The Great Barrier Reef plants, while often not considered as exciting as the animals that live here, are also diverse and well worth seeing.
The Great Barrier Reef vegetation are all aquatic plants that thrive in salt water, so they tend to be sea grasses and algae. Of the 60 different types of sea grass in known existence, over 15 are found here in the Great Barrier Reef. They are important to many of the animals that live in the Reef, as they are a major part of the diet of both the dugong turtle and green turtle. Additionally, they are used as a habitat by much other small marine life, including different types of fish and prawns. Sea grasses are the only flowering bioforms that are able to live in sea water, and most of the sea grasses in this area tend to bear both flowers and fruit in the months of September through December.
One of the other types of Great Barrier Reef vegetation that are abundant in the Reef area is marine algae. Algae can range in size from the minuscule, such plankton algae, to large – with these larger types of algae being seaweed that can grow to many feet long. There are around 500 different types of algae found in the Great Barrier Reef area, with the most common types being found within the groups red algae, green algae, brown algae and golden algae. The different forms of algae provide nutrients for many different sea creatures, such as fish and even marine mammals. Algae in the form of seaweed is also incredibly beneficial to humans; we eat seaweed in many different food preparations, as well as using extracts of seaweed such as carrageenan and alginates for food, cosmetic and even pharmaceutical preparations.
About the Author
Richard Monk is with Facts Monk – a site with facts about everything.