Reef Beat 2016: threats to the Reef

This Reef Beat education series, threats to the Reef, encourages teachers and students to explore the Great Barrier Reef, threats to the Reef and ways to protect its health and improve its resilience.

The series complements our educational resources and includes five short videos and an activity book.

Students explore the greatest threats to the health and resilience Great Barrier Reef:

  • climate change: sea temperature increase, altered weather patterns, ocean acidification and sea level rise
  • coastal development and catchment modification: clearing and modifying coastal habitats, artificial barriers to flow, and disposal and resuspension of dredge material
  • land-based run-off: nutrients from run-off (including its links to crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks), sediments and pesticide run-off
  • remaining impacts of fishing: illegal fishing, collecting and poaching, incidental catch of species of conservation concern, effects on discarded catch, retained take (extraction) of predators, and retained take (extraction) from unidentified or unprotected spawning aggregations
  • marine debris: land and sea sources.

All actions — big or small — are vital for the Reef’s future. Students can help the Reef recover from the legacy of past actions and be better able to withstand those predicted to threaten its future. This series aims to encourage students to learn about and care for their local environment, in turn contributing to the health of the Great Barrier Reef.