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Great Southern Reef

Great Southern Reef, rocky reef complex, c. 27,000 sq mi (70,000 sq km), extending almost 5,000 mi (8,100 km) along S and SW Australia coast, from Brisbane to Perth. The reef's temperate marine ecosystem is dominated by kelp forests teeming with life, including sponges, crustaceans, and mollusks, many of them unique to the area. Fishing, shellfishing, and tourism are a major industries on the reef. A marine heat wave in 2010–11 decimated kelp forests in parts of the reef, leading to colonization by more tropical fish; the effects of human population growth and urban development also pose threats to the reef.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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