You will believe that Gardens Bloom under the Sea

 

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral formation on earth.  The variety of coral formations found at the Great Barrier Reef cause thousands to flock to the reef year after year.

Great Barrier Reef coral
Coral

The amazing varieties of coral are unlike those found anywhere else in the world.

The abundance of coral formations are home to a diversity of marine life, which you’ll see plenty swimming around the coral gardens.

Although the coral reefs are known for their beauty, few know the Great Barrier Reef’s coral are actually living animals.

The types of coral in the Great Barrier Reef are commonly thought to be rocks and seaweed, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Coral actually consists of thousands of tiny polyps, allowing them to grow in different shapes and sizes. In order for coral to thrive, zooxanthellae is needed, which is an algae. It’s also responsible for giving coral their vibrant colours.

gorgonians also known as fan and whip corals on Australia's Great Barrier Reef
Gorgonian

 

A little known fact about coral is that it belongs to the same family as jellyfish and sea anemones.

Although hard coral may just look like a bunch of rocks, they are actually hard limestone skeletons, forming the basis of coral reefs, such as brain coral, staghorn coral and luna coral.

Soft corals are often mistaken for plants, but they grow on top of hard coral and don’t build the reefs.

Common soft coral varieties found in the Great Barrier Reef include elephant ear coral and weeping coral.

 

The many different types of coral in the Great Barrier Reef can be found all over the reef system.

Coral that has formed along a coastline, such as those at Whitsundays, are known as a fringing reef, while those that grow parallel to the shoreline are known as a barrier reef because of the barrier-like formation they make.

Currently, there are more than 2000 reefs making up the Great Barrier Reef.

Each Great Barrier Reef coral formation has it’s own name and certain shape.

The unique corals date back to more that 15,000 years ago during the Ice Age.

Great Barrier Reef animals live on the coral reef
green sea turtle on coral reef

Throughout time, the reef has become a huge attraction as it’s bustling with rare sea life and unmatched beauty.

 

The coral reefs are constantly changing and developing, with many different varieties, shapes and colours.

Several species of animals find refuge in the coral gardens, from fish and clams to starfish and turtles.

You’ll even find sharks and whales swimming near the coral formations.

 

The Great Barrier Reef coral are a highlight of any trip to the reef system.

The coral reef’s colours and uniqueness are the main reason thousands visit the reef year and year.

Coral Reproduction

coral spawns once a year on the Great Barrier Reef
Coral Spawning

A spectacular annual mass spawning is the start of the life cycle of coral

The process known as ‘broadcast spawning’ occurs for between 2 and 6 days after the full moon in late November early December on the Cairns outer reefs in North Queensland

Its a spectacular annual mass spawning when coral polyps simultaneously release eggs and sperm into the water shortly after sunset

The Great Barrier Reef is outstandingly beautiful it really is something that should not be missed