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In Brief

Crocodile Hunter's Dad Out to Save Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef extends for 2,000 kilometers along the northeastern coast of Australia. It is not a single reef, but a vast maze of reefs, passages, and coral cays (islands that are part of the reef). This nadir true-color image was acquired by the MISR instrument on August 26, 2000 (Terra orbit 3679), and shows part of the southern portion of the reef adjacent to the central Queensland coast. The width of the MISR swath is approximately 380 kilometers, with the reef clearly visible up to approximately 200 kilometers from the coast. It may be difficult to see the myriad details in the browse image, but if you retrieve the higher resolution version, a zoomed display reveals the spectacular structure of the many reefs. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team)

Bob Irwin, the father of the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, has launched a campaign to conserve Australia's Great Barrier Reef, where his son was killed by a stingray while diving in 2006. The campaign comes at a time when port and industrial development is increasing along the coast of the state of Queensland.

In ads, Irwin urges the Australian people to fight for the protection of the reef, which is the largest living structure on Earth, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. "It's your reef but you're going to have to fight for it," Irwin said in a TV advertisement, as quoted by The Independent. "The reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, but our governments seem to have forgotten that fact. The Australian people are the only ones who can make a difference to protecting the reef."

The Queensland government has said that they are taking proper environmental precautions with burgeoning development, but many environmental activists have argued that the reef should be placed on UNESCO's list of heritage sites "in danger."

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Andrea Thompson
Andrea graduated from Georgia Tech with a B.S. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in 2004 and a Master's in the same subject in 2006. She attended the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at New York University and graduated with a Master of Arts in 2006.