Habitats for countless species
Coral reefs account for only 7% of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area. The rest is comprised of other marine habitats, including inshore mangroves, seagrass, algal and sponge gardens, giant clam gardens, sand, soft sediment seabed, mud, bedrock, shoals and deeper waters on the continental slope beyond the outer reef. Many species use different habitats at different stages of their lives. Species loss in any one habitat can have consequences elsewhere.
Globally, coral reefs occupy less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface, but provide a habitat for 25% of all marine species. A 2011 paper estimates there are more than 2 million marine species in total, of which less than 10% have been described by science.
Lizard Island science is advancing knowledge of thousands of local species, many of which are recorded in the Lizard Island Field Guide.
A vast, beautiful, precious wilderness
These two websites explain why the Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s greatest natural treasure:
Jobs, dollars and food
A 2013 study estimated that the GBR generates the full-time equivalent of around 70,000 jobs, with tourism, recreation, commercial fishing and research contributing approximately $5.7 billion in added value to Australia’s economy. It is even more important now, because tourism has increased since that study was done. This April 2018 media release (PDF) cites an economic value of $6.4 billion per year and 64,000 jobs. The GBR is also a significant source of food for local indigenous people, and an important part of the food chain and life cycle for fish caught elsewhere.
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