Humans & The Reef

"We might consider our relationship with the reef ammensalism. In this type of relationship, one subject, the reef, is negatively affected and the other, humans, has no affect. Chemical runoff, caused by humans, pollutes water and the reef. Humans also damage the reef when they visit by breaking off pieces or walking on it. Sometimes, boat anchors are dropped or dragged on the reef."

"Unfortunately, the true relationship between humans and the reef is a negative negative one. The reef is in danger of losing many species due to pollution and climate change.  And future generations of humans may never be able to appreciate its beauty."



Ideally our relationship with the reef should be mutualism that is, we should benefit one another.

Here are some of the ways in which people are helping to conserve the reef today:

- The Great Barrier Reef became a marine park in 2004.  This means that much of the reef is now protected by the Australian government.

- Fishing near the reef has been restricted to prevent damage caused by fishing nets.

- People are not allowed to take pieces of the reef because the light from a camera can negatively affect the organisms living there.

-  Regulated tourism allows for close monitoring of the people around the reef to make sure the reef is safe and protected.



CAC is a program of the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.