Explore the Great Barrier Reef Birth of an Atoll 1 day ago   00:35

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Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's most iconic natural areas. It's bigger than Italy and home to unique plants, animals and habitats. For more than 40 years, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority have been Australia's lead managers of the Reef.

Video: Johnny Gaskell
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Birth of an Atoll Explore the Great Barrier Reef 1 day ago   03:57

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Atolls begin as an underwater volcanoes called seamounts. Over time and many eruptions the seamount grows until it rises above the water and becomes an island. Corals grow around the island and, over geologic time, the volcano goes dormant and sinks, but the coral reefs remain and continue to grow faster than the island sinks, eventually creating an island ring made of coral around a central lagoon where the volcano used to be.

To learn more, check out our online coral reef ecology curriculum: http://www.lof.org/education/portal/