Where on Earth are the Coral Reefs?
Are you as stoked on coral reefs as we are? If I could, I would pack my bags, my snorkel, and head out to explore each one all over our world. Let’s talk about some information on the largest reef on Earth and the biggest in North America.
The Great Barrier Reef truly earned its name stretching 1,800 miles long! It is the largest reef on the planet. Here’s an eye widening fact: some parts of the reef are even 40 miles wide. It is hard to fathom a coral reef of this sheer magnitude especially when you find out that astronauts concluded that it is the only living organism able to be seen from space! Yes, this means that the biggest living being on the planet is the Great Barrier Reef. It’s comprised of 3,000 reefs and over 600 islands expanding from shallower marine waters to deeper ocean. Although reefs are usually found no deeper than 150 feet, there you can find canyons and slopes reaching down to 6,651 feet.
Each of the 3,000 individual reef contributes to one larger ecosystem. Down under you will find this mighty one. The Australian ecosystem is home to over 9,000 species of marine life. Six of the seven species of marine turtles and approximately 1,625 different fish live at this natural wonder. Even the Clownfish, better known as “Nemo,” can be found there swimming along creating a hit cartoon movie.
If you are now itching to go, ready to quit your job and sail into the wind, maybe you could just take the week off and visit the Florida Keys Reef instead! It is technically the only living barrier reef in the United States and the largest in North America expanding 221 miles. Eighty percent of reef species in the Tropical Western Atlantic live there including 50 different species of coral. The barrier reef boasts 150 different species of fish. Imagine Sea Fans waving “Hello!” while schools of Blue Tang and big Tarpon peacefully swim around you. Sea turtles such as the Loggerhead pop in and out of the water and the chance of seeing the non-aggressive Nurse shark pushes your adrenaline into full gear. Do not fear! Surf You to the Moon will be there to show you this underwater forest with the upmost care and training. Biscayne National Park and John Pennekamp State Park have been recognized as the preservers of our coral reef.
There are coral reefs all over the world. They are partial to warm waters, but, in recent years, scientists have even found reefs in cold water! I’m about to hit you with a fact that will lead into next week’s blog: in the last 30 years, 50% of our coral has been lost. What is the cause of this harsh loss of life? What can we do to help conserve our underwater world?