The Great Barrier Reef is almost 500,000 years old, and crosses over 500 islands to cover 2,600 miles of the ocean! Because of the sea level fluctuations, the current formation of the GBR is 6,000 to 8,000 years old. Because of its gigantic size, the GBR is actually made up of 900 smaller reefs living in such close proximity to each other, sharing marine life between them! Did you know any reef called a “barrier reef” is because of the border it creates between the shallow shore waters and the open sea? The natural barrier causes the waves to break apart on the reef, stopping the full force from hitting the shore. Its presence protects and promotes sea plant and animal survival!