Why are fish so brightly coloured?


‘Why are fish so brightly coloured?’ This is one of the questions most commonly asked by our guests.
Reef fish are able to see colour. Their bright colours are important in species recognition and in the determination of sex. Some species, such as angelfish, have juvenile patterns that are totally different to the adults. The different colour patterns of juveniles may prevent adults from seeing them as a potential threat to territories or as reproductive partners. They also use their colours to blend with the environment is an import way to ambush prey and to hide from predators.

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The Best Time to Visit the Great Barrier Reef?


That is probably the most common question that people ask when planning your trip to Australia. The question is the same but the answer is different for everybody and we all have our personal preferences. Well there is always something going on, on the reef and around Cairns. Below are some of the key dates of events on the Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns and surrounds and I’ll l let you choose what suits you best.

Reef Events
Whale Migrations – June to December
Turtle Mating – October to February
Reef Spawning – Early November, a night time event, six days after the full moon.
Wet Season – December to March, Fantastic Waterfalls and afternoon monsoon rains.
Fish Spawning – October to December

Major Cairns Events
Cairns Blues Festival – First Weekend of May
A Taste of Port – Arts and Wine – Last couple of weeks in May
The Cairns Show – July
Festival Cairns – End of August to the beginning of September
The Cairns Amateurs (Horseracing) – Second Saturday in September
Cairns Music Festival – December

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Quick Facts About The Great Barrier Reef


The Great Barrier Reef is the largest structure built by living organisms on the Earth today.
The Great Barrier Reef region is the world’s largest group of coral reefs.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park covers an area of 345 400 sq. km or 133 360 sq. miles.
It stretches 2300 km (1430 miles) along the Queensland coast.

There are three main types of reefs found on the Great Barrier Reef: Ribbon, Platform, and Fringing reefs.

Fringing reefs are coral structures that are attached to the mainland or to continental islands. In the Great Barrier Reef most fringing reefs are found around islands. Fringing reefs are probably the reef type most commonly seen by visitors.

Platform reefs are also known as patch reefs and are scattered in the calm, shallow waters between the mainland and edge of the continental shelf. They are usually round or oval patches and often tend to be broken up.

Ribbon reefs only occur in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef. They form along the edge of the continental shelf and can grow so high they form narrow walls.

Tiny masses of coral polyps are responsible for building coral reefs.
Reefs are masses of limestone made from skeletons of millions upon millions of tiny marine animals and plants.

It is not one long continuous reef, but a complex system of various marine habitats with more than:
2900 coral reefs
600 continental islands
300 coral cays

The Great Barrier Reef is home to approximately:
1,500 species of fish
360 species of hard coral
1/3 of the world’s soft corals
4,000 species of molluscs (eg. shells)
800 species of echinoderm (eg. starfish, sea urchins etc)
24 species of seabirds that live and breed on the islands
More than 30 species of marine mammals including whales, dolphins and dugongs
14,000 dugong (Australia’s entire dugong population is about 100,000)
6 species of marine turtles, all listed as threatened.

Main threats to coral reefs include climate change, pollutants, coral bleaching and crown-of-thorn starfish outbreaks.

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Global Warming and the Great Barrier Reef


News.com has reported the first species to become extinct because of global warming it is the White Possum, native of North Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest. The Daintree Rainforest is adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef so let’s hope this is not an ominous sign of things to come. Greenhouse gases hit record highs in 2007 according to the World Meteorological Association.
These World Heritage Parks both the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropical Rainforest are preserves that have been set aside for future generations of global citizens to enjoy.
So it is important YOU take the time to do some little things that will cut down on emissions and limit your use of fossil fuels. Here are some easy things to do that benefit both you and the planet as a whole.

1. Walk or ride a bicycle to the local shops instead of driving.
2. When choosing a car, buy a car suitable for your everyday use, if you need a bigger car occasionally rent one. It’ll save you money everyday as well as on insurance and repairs.
3. Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs. I know ladies they show complexion issues but vanity is a small price to pay.
4. Don’t run the hot water for a minute to rinse something, most of the hot water is wasted in the pipes and the hot water heater needs to heat that water again.
5. Keep Air-conditioning and Heaters on only for the extremes and set the temperatures at a reasonable level.
6. Reuse and recycle plastics whenever possible especially water bottles. It is incredible to me that people pay more for water in a plastic bottle then they do for soft drinks and other processed products in the same bottle.

More information can be found on the AIMS website also as detailed in our previous post.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has published a number of publications providing information on the effect of Global Warming on the Great Barrier Reef. They can be found on their website.

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