The Ultimate Great Barrier Reef Quiz

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About This Quiz

The Great Barrier Reef, situated along the northeastern coast of Australia, is a marine ecosystem unrivaled by any other in the world. Renowned for its natural, unchanged beauty, it is visited by millions of tourists every year. Take this quiz to learn more about this natural aquatic wonderland.

How many islands are in the Great Barrier Reef?

There are about 600 islands in the Great Barrier Reef, along the northeast coast of Australia.

Who made the first recorded "discovery" of the Great Barrier Reef?

Captain James Cook crashed his sailing ship into the reef in 1770 and thus "discovered" it.

What does the Great Barrier Reef contain that makes it a popular site for millions of tourists every year?

It contains thousands of spectacular coral reefs.

The structure of the current reef is thought to be growing on top of:

It is growing on top of older reefs believed to be hundreds of thousands of years old.

What separates a barrier reef from coastal land?

A barrier reef (one of several types of reef) is separated from land by a wide, deep lagoon.

Like barrier reefs, _____ reefs also lie parallel to coastlines.

Fringing reefs are similar to barrier reefs in this respect. They both lie parallel to coastline.

What do platform and patch reefs often grow on top of?

They often grow on top of underwater hills in oval-shaped manner.

In which of the three major sections of the Great Barrier Reef are ribbon reefs in abundance?

They're in great abundance in the northernmost area, called Far Northern.

The more south you head from the Great Barrier Reef, the more the shelf narrows and the reefs disappear. Why doesn't coral grow in these parts?

The further south you go, the cooler the temperature gets and this is unsuited for coral growth.

Aside from reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is also host to low-lying coral or sand islands. What are they called?

They're called cays and they support a variety of plant communities.

There are 4,000 types in the Great Barrier Reef. What am I?

There are about 250 types of shrimp and 30 species of whales and dolphins, so the answer has to be mollusks. That's right, there are 4,000 types of mollusks in the reef.

How big can giant clams be in the reef?

They can reach up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) in length and weigh more than 440 pounds (200 kilos).

Is it true that some of the reef's species of sea snakes have stronger venom than the most poisonous land snakes?

Yes, this is true. Some sea snakes have venom 20 times more poisonous than that of the most poisonous land snakes.

What is one of the biggest threats to the coral colonies?

The crown-of-thorns starfish is one of the biggest threats, having already decimated the coral colonies twice in the last 50 years.

How long does it take for a coral reef to regenerate after being destroyed by a crown-of-thorns starfish?

It could take 10 years to regenerate.

Which Australian body is charged with protecting the Reef?

Under the federal government and the Queensland state government, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is charged with this mission.

What activities are permitted in the marine park's general use zones?

Fishing, boating and swimming -- as well as certain other activities -- are permitted in these zones.

Who is forbidden from entering scientific research zones?

The general public is forbidden to enter these zones. They are designated solely for scientific research.

About one third of the marine park is protected by a "no-take" clause. What does this mean?

The "no-take" clause refers to the ban on taking anything from there, so one can't collect shells or go fishing there, for example.

What pharmaceutical use are scientists researching using the coral species in the reef?

Using a part of the coral that secretes a certain protective coating, they are researching the development of a sunscreen.

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