The Sixth Extinction

Great Barrier Reef Symbol Analysis

Great Barrier Reef Symbol Icon

Kolbert writes about the Great Barrier Reef, located off the coast of Australia, and how the increased acidity of the water has been destroying it for the last few decades. In this way, the Great Barrier Reef is a synecdoche (symbol where a part of something represents the whole) for the planet itself, and a symbol for the way that human behavior is destroying the planet’s beauty and complexity.

Great Barrier Reef Quotes in The Sixth Extinction

The The Sixth Extinction quotes below all refer to the symbol of Great Barrier Reef. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of The Sixth Extinction published in 2015.
Chapter 7 Quotes

Thousands—perhaps millions—of species have evolved to rely on coral reefs, either directly for protection or food, or indirectly, to prey on those species that come seeking protection or food. This coevolutionary venture has been under way for many geologic epochs. Researchers now believe it won't last out the Anthropocene.

Related Symbols: Great Barrier Reef
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Great Barrier Reef Symbol Timeline in The Sixth Extinction

The timeline below shows where the symbol Great Barrier Reef appears in The Sixth Extinction. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: Dropping Acid
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Natural Selection and Mass-extinction Theme Icon
Environmental Change and Human Nature Theme Icon
At the southernmost tip of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, there’s a place called One Tree Island (which actually has many trees). On... (full context)
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Environmental Change and Human Nature Theme Icon
The first Europeans to see the Great Barrier Reef were Captain James Cook and his crew in 1770. Cook had never seen a coral... (full context)
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Natural Selection and Mass-extinction Theme Icon
...some of the same mystification that Cook must have felt when he first saw the Great Barrier Reef more than two centuries years ago. (full context)
Mass-extinction and Morality Theme Icon
Natural Selection and Mass-extinction Theme Icon
Environmental Change and Human Nature Theme Icon
Once per year, the corals of the Great Barrier Reef participate in a “mass spawning,” an event during which corals reproduce asexually, creating millions of... (full context)