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Things that Make the Great Barrier Reef Special

This article was written by Phin Upham

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is one of the world’s most beautiful natural preserves. It also has some of the largest natural features on the planet, stretching over 2,300 kilometers from the Northern tip to Queensland. There are over 2,900 reefs to explore in this amazing region, but that’s not the only fact that makes the Reef special.

Complex Ecosystem

The ecosystem consists of many species of fish and fauna relying on one another as sources of food. The only region on earth that comes close to the biodiversity of the Reef is the rainforest. The Marine Park that is within the boundaries of the Reef contains six of the seven species of sea turtle currently in existence.

Cultural Significance

The indigenous people of the Great Barrier Reef have relied on the region for trade and food sources, continuing to this day. Music, art, laws and traditions of these natives all stem from their interactions with the Reef. The coastal communities also work with the local government to manage the Reef as a protected area.

Historical Significance

The Reef was the exploratory prize of many throughout the 1700s and 1800s. James Cook charted much of the Reef, and Matthew Flinders named the region. The popularity of attempting to the risky venture is evident in the numerous shipwrecks found around the reef.


Tourism is a huge source of income for the Reef, bringing in almost $5 billion annually to the region. The park will accommodate almost 2-million visitors each year, all managed by roughly 800 tourism operations running tours and other excursions. The Cairns and Port Douglas areas represent fewer than 10% of the park, yet receive almost 85% of all visitors.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.

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