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Google gives a glimpse of the great barrier reef

Lona Middleton
Copy Editor
lkemp@lhup.edu

 

Photo courtesy of shedexpedition.com

Photo courtesy of shedexpedition.com

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. It is kept hidden under the waves off the shores of Australia which means that most of us will never really get to experience it.

Well, Google would like to help with that. They have introduced their “Street View” to the underwater beauty of the GBR and we can all log on and take a look at the splendor that it is. They have accumulated 100,000 images and will continually update the images to keep up with the changes to the reef.

This is a great way to increase interest in visiting the Great Barrier Reef but Google is hoping it will serve a more noble cause than an increase in tourism. They hope that this will be a joint effort between scientists and the public to watch for and keep track of damage to the GBR. The Catlin Seaview Survey is the organization that took on this momentous task of gathering and updating the pictures we will see under the sea. The GBR is huge at almost 1,430 miles and encompassing 3000 individual reefs. The GBR is home to at least 1500 different fish species and 30 distinct sea mammals.

Photo courtesy of acfonline.org

Photo courtesy of acfonline.org

This is a project that is both hopeful and reserved in their goals. Public awareness of the GBR’s health, that it has lost almost half of its coral cover in less than thirty years, is one side. The other is to get some kind of visual record of the reef before it completely disappears if worse comes to worse and we as a global force are unable to save it.

It would be sad if the only way our children’s children are able to experience the absolute otherworldly beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is through the recordings Google and the Catlin Seaview Survey are making. Currently, this is a very real possibility.

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