Coral gardening is on the horizon in the Whitsundays. The initiative has been put forward as a solution to help inshore reefs recover that have been damaged by cyclones that have disrupted the Whitsundays. Inshore reefs often bear the brunt of waves and unpredictable tides that accompany such weather patterns.
A herbivore is a animal that feeds only on plants. They are not predatory nor do they hunt other animals, but instead survive of nutrients provided by plants only. And they are helping the reef big time.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living ecosystem in the world. It has been around for many millennia and is continually growing and changing. It is a network that spans across 2,600km and is made up of corals, sea grass, islands, and cays that make up the entirety of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It is said that the reef dates back as much as twenty million years ago, with an ever changing landscape and coastline. It has moved and morphed over the years and was first encountered by humans 40,000 years ago when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples settled in the area. The current reef is about 6,000 to 8,000 years old and was formed after the last ice age began to recede and water levels and temperatures rapidly changed.
As the cold weather rolls into Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, so too do the whales! Every year during the winter season, thousands of humpback whales migrate to the Whitsundays to nurse their babies and enjoy the warm waters of the coral sea. It brings a time of joy to locals and tourists alike, who get to see these amazing animals up close and in their natural environment.
In the wake of the category 4 Cyclone Debbie, it is hard to see the bright side of such a huge weather phenomenon. However, in terms of coral bleaching, there may be a silver lining to the the storm that hit the Whitsundays on 28 March 2017.
It is always turtle season in the Whitsundays! Turtles live in the Whitsundays all year long, breeding, eating, living and laying their eggs in the sands around the islands. If you're lucky, you will spot one while you're out snorkelling or cruising along on a boat, as they are never far away from the trained eye!
The Great Barrier Reef is a major contributor to biodiversity and overall health to the world's oceans. It is said to be one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and contributes to the planet in more ways than most people know.