The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth

Satellite photograph of the Great Barrier Reef situated off the northerastern coast of Australia.

Satellite photograph of the Great Barrier Reef situated off the northeastern coast of Australia.

Stretching for 1,429 miles (2,300 kilometers) over an area of approximately 133,000 square miles (344,400 square kilometers), the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. The reef is located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, in the Coral Sea.

The reef, which is large enough to be visible from space, is made up of nearly 3,000 individual reefs. Much of the Great Barrier Reef is a marine protected area, managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority of Australia.

For more information:

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
U.S. Coral Reef Task Force
NOAA Coral Reef Information System
Coral Health and Monitoring Program
Corals Tutorial
Five Things You Should Know About Coral Reefs
Value of Coral Reefs (audio podcast)
Coral Reef Ecosystems (NOAA State of the Coast)