Sunday, 30 September 2012

FMP Research//Great Barrier Reef BBC Two.

Written and visual research material as I begin to develop my research and insight into coral reefs for my proposal for my Final Major Project, looking at the promotion and persuasion into protecting and rebuilding coral reefs around the world. Also research material source linked below.


1. Nature's Miracle

- Monty Halls in Australia (Marine Biologist and Diver).
- East coast Australia, 200km off shore.
- 2000km, the largest living structure on the planet.
- Built up of 3,000 different reefs- each with a unique "personality".
- More life contained than almost anywhere on earth.
- Ever-changing, natural miracle.
- Can be seen from space.
- Polyp ("upside down jellyfish") live together in colonies and respond to touch, temperature, sun and moon.
- Polyps built the reef but can't do it alone- in each of it's tentacles are microscopic plants which help to photosynthesise  turning materials in the water into limestone, helping each colony to grow.

- Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the Earth, but contain over 25% off all animal life.
- 10,000 years old, stories of "the flood" are still passed down in Aboriginal cultures.
- Shallow, warm waters are perfect conditions for thriving corals.
- Captain Cook, in 1770, was the first Britain to witness the Great Barrier Reef.

- Bumphead Parrotfish can eat up to as much as 5 tonne of coral per year- excreting it as sand helps to ensure that the cycle of the reef is maintained. 
- Reef crust- the impact of the waves upon the coral is an unstoppable force. 
- Tropical storms and cyclones regularly come in from the Pacific Ocean. Whipping the rocks around creates smal islands called CORAL CAYS. Some stay for a matter of days, others build, grow, and can last for years. Plants grow and protect them from the elements.
- Coral cays can support life in abundance. Rain Island is one of the best examples, home to thousands of birds and with a great deal of varieties (approx. 84).
- Largest green turtle breeding land in the world, 26,000 turtles born in one night.
- Epaulette Sharks can't survive outside of water (in tidal shifts), but has evolved to walk on the land and shut down part of it's brain in order to supply blood to other areas of the body, and, consequently, has become a master hunter, a breed of longtailed carpet shark.

- Under UV light, the coral glows an extraordinarily bright, vibrant colours, no-one really knows why this happens, but theories suggest it has something to do with the natural "sun screen" of the coral.
- Octopus come out at night and stalk their prey.
- Feather-mouth sea cucumber and the basket star are relations of the starfish.
- At night, many fish sleep, barely moving, apart from to have water moving through their gills. Without eyelids, they enter a trance like state, but, giving off a scent, they can still be found. Despite being asleep, the fish can often sense their surroundings. Simply hiding is not enough at night. Parrotfish will often make a "sleeping bag" of membrane in order to attempt to mask it's scent, creating a mucus bubble within half an hour.
- Bio-electrical energy can often be sensed by the slightest muscle- twitch of fish by white tip sharks.
- The dorsal fin of the white tip shark can be flattened in order for them to squeeze through coral and rocks.

- Corals and passive and plant-like by day, but are active hunters by night- stinging tentacles to immobilise small fish.
- Once a coral senses another is too close, it sends stinging cells across to it, and vice versa.

- In the summer, warmer waters mean more food.

- Triggered by the moon, a couple of days a year, trillions of egg and sperms litter the reef from coral spawning- catching a lull in the tide, which causes the sperm and egg to meet, creating baby coral spread far and wife, propelling themselves with microscopic hairs.
- Influenced by weather, wind, waves, geology and the rhythms of the sun and the moon, the reef is in constant flux.
- 7% of the eco system is coral.

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