The main sources of plastic which enter the Great barrier reef include low density polyethylene (plastic bags) as well as polyethylene terephthalate (water bottles). However, many other types of plastics enter this natural wonder. This includes polyvinyl chloride (cling wrap) and high-density polyethylene (shampoo bottle). Due to this, all this plastic endangers the species in the great barrier Reef as it may choke the wildlife and poison flora. Fish and other creatures may ingest broken down particles of plastics or get trapped in a plastic bag and may end up dying. As well as this, the coral become more susceptible to diseases and poisoning. Plastics of all types has negatively affected the Great barrier reef and many other coral reefs.
Coral is a vital organism found within the Great Barrier Reef as it houses over 1500 species of fish and over 134 species of sharks and rays.
Algae is another significant organism as it is one of the largest sources of food in the great barrier reef feeding coral, fish, and other mammals.
Marine turtles have also been affected by turtles as they are a species which are endangered due to the use of plastic waste.
Sharks is another organism which has been negatively influenced by plastics through the use of plastic fishing nets which trap and may even kill the shark.
Sea birds are another organism which has been negatively affected by plastics as the plastic smells llike fish and due to this they ingest the plastic.
Small fish are another fundamental organism which has been negatively affected
Plastic waste has created a detrimental effect on the coral reefs of Australia. Killing the high order consumers (sharks) all the way down to the producers (coral) and low order consumers (fish). Sharks have been impacted by the introduction of plastic waste as the break down of plastics results microplastics which is still potentially toxic. As the shark moves around, they unintentionally ingest the plastics and hence, gets poisoned which may lead to death. Marine turtles also get affected as they get tangled in plastic nets. They also mistaken plastic bags as jellyfish and because of this, they ingest the plastic, which normally leads to death without medical treatment. Sea birds are another organism which have been negatively impacted as they constantly eat the surface food including krill, forage fish and squids. However, with the inevitability of plastics, the smell of sulphur attracts seabirds and hence why they eat the plastic. As well as this, plastics have affected the fundamental blocks of the Great Barrier Reef being the corals themselves (producers). The corals get tangled and covered in plastic and due to this, the plastic poisons the coral and increases the likelihood of sickness from 4 percent to 89 percent which is a significant increase. Without coral, no food and shelter will be provided for the smaller organisms to survive (fish) and due to this, the fish species population begin to diminish and so does the higher order consumers. Based on the ecological pyramid, without producers, the ecosystem will collapse. Symbiosis
If any of the organisms were changed, the Great barrier Reefs’ ecosystem would collapse. This is based off the ecological pyramid. For example, if the producers of the reef, the coral, were significantly reduced, there wouldn’t be enough habitats for small fishes and other organisms to live. If the number of living sharks in the great barrier reef increased, being more than the secondary consumers, there would be an over supply of tertiary consumers and not enough secondary consumers to feed the sharks. Due to this, with the abundance of sharks, the secondary consumers would be wiped out and there would be an over supply of producers and high order consumers.