Meet the Guardians of the Great Barrier Reef

October 20, 2023
By Kendall Hill

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These change makers are devoted to protecting our national treasure, the Great Barrier Reef.

Being a custodian of the world’s largest living structure is a tremendous responsibility. More than 2000 kilometres long and spanning an area the size of Italy, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef contains 10 per cent of the planet’s coral reef systems, more than 900 islands and phenomenal biodiversity – including more than 1600 types of fish and dozens of whale and dolphin species.

Yet its ecological importance goes far beyond marine life. Without it, coastal communities would be more exposed to extreme weather, we’d miss out on pharmaceutical discoveries (reef compounds have already yielded treatments for asthma, heart disease and more) and lose a valuable carbon dioxide sink. Economically, the reef supports 64,000 jobs and adds an estimated $6.4 billion to the nation’s annual accounts. More than two million tourists visit each year to marvel at the wonders of this World Heritage-listed treasure.

Fortunately, there are brilliant people at the forefront of research and conservation – guardians who are dedicating their life’s work to protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

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