Amazing Facts About the Great Barrier Reef

Posted By Phineas Upham

Over a half million years  ago, the great barrier reef began to form off the coast of Australia. We recognize it today as the largest reef system in the world, but it wasn’t always this way. Through glaciers melting and freezing, and ever changing sea levels, the polyps and algae that form the basic structure of the reef have worked together to shield thousands of species of animal life.

About the Reef

The Reef itself is the world’s largest living structure, with up to 2,900 individual reef systems and over 900 islands. It measures almost 1,616 miles in length and astronauts can view the formation from space. There are species of shark, whale, and descendents of the manatee and jellyfish all coexisting in the same space. One of the more impressive species is the humpback whale, whose song can last for over 10 minutes.


Coral polyps create calcium carbonate, which is the hard-shelled basis of the reef itself. Marine animals called coral play an important role in the formation of the Great Barrier Reef. Amongst these structures, one can find almost 1,500 species of fish alone.

Man’s Impact

The Great Barrier Reef is an extremely popular tourist destination, worth roughly $3 billion dollars to the Australian government, but rapidly changing climates do present some risks to the reef. Oil drilling in the area has stopped since 1975, and the government uses eco-tourism certification to provide tourists with education and entertainment during their time there.

About the Author: Phineas 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 and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.