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Oceania

» The Great Barrier Reef

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The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef, extends from the middle of Australia's east coast northward to Papua New Guinea. It is not, however, one reef, but a system of around 3,400 separate formations with a total area of more than 200,000 square miles.

The corals that create the reef are tiny creatures called polyps which join together in colonies. Each polyp looks like a tiny blob of jelly with tentacles, a bit like a sea anemone, but MUCH smaller. Each one lives in a shell and joins together with other polyps in shells to form interesting and varied shapes such as fans, antlers, plate shapes, and more.

There are actually many different kinds of coral. Some grow and die quickly, while others grow slowly and can live for hundreds of years. Corals can be many different colors; the algae they eat give coral their color. When corals die, they turn white.

Coral grows best in shallow, warm moving saltwater with plenty of light. The Australian coast offers the perfect growing conditions, which have allowed the Reef to grow to such a large size. The Great Barrier Reef is home to an estimated 300 species of coral, as well as 1,500 species of fish, more than 4,000 types of shellfish, over 400 kinds of sponges, six turtle species, and more than 240 types of birds. The dugong, an endangered plant-eating marine mammal similar to the Florida manatee, is also found in the waters around the Reef, which attracts many tourists each year.

Answer the following questions from the reading.

Corals are NOT

tiny polyps.
living things.
sea anemones.
social creatures.

All of these conclusions about the Great Barrier Reef are valid, EXCEPT

The Reef attracts many kinds of animals.
The waters around the Reef are warm.
The Great Barrier Reef is very colorful.
The Reef is one giant coral formation.

Which of these factors would MOST LIKELY have caused the dugong to become endangered?

coral.
saltwater.
algae.
tourists.