The State Of The Virtual Reefs

An annotated bibliography of web sites

In the report entitled State of the Reefs, the authors write that "the status and trends of complete coral reef ecosystems...have never been comprehensively evaluated because of the complexity, length of time, and cost of such endeavors." The status and trends of web sites addressing coral reef topics are in a similar situation. This site is an attempt to help change that situation.

The world wide web has great potential for allowing access to data and other information previously difficult to attain, but it has at least one attribute that may actually hinder finding this information: anyone can put up anything they want. To aid in finding the type and quality of information you are looking for, this site provides links to sites addressing coral reefs, lists the specific author(s) and their educational background or title when available, and describes the information found at each site. It was originally created as a project for a multidisciplinary class on coral reefs at the University of Kansas, taught by Robert Buddemeier, Paul Enos, and Daphne Fautin. In this position (as a student), the "complexity, length of time, and cost" of the endeavor was a non-issue. (That's sarcasm. Actually, it was more complex than expected, took a long time, and cost the price of tuition at least).

Two things I acknowledge about the site are that it is not 100% comprehensive (though I challenge anyone to find a more comprehensive site), and the method of annotating is somewhat unorthodox for the scientific community. I have grouped sites according to topic, and give a short description of the type of information found at each site when appropriate (primary source article, field guide, database, etc.). This system did not apply well to all sites, but seemed to be useful for most. I also commented on the quality of each site from a web-scripting view (whether there are useful graphics or pictures, etc.). If you have suggestions about how to make the site more clear or useful, agree or disagree with a review, or know of a site not listed, please write me at I hope this site helps you find what you want to know about the beautiful ecosystems known as coral reefs.

Scott Ellsworth
University of Kansas (Site of Pennsylvanian-Period coral environments).

Contents - Click on topic to skip ahead or just scroll down.

  1. General
  2. Biology
    1. Ecology
      1. Bleaching
      2. Predation
    2. Organisms
      1. Corals
      2. Other Invertebrates
      3. Fishes
      4. Other Vertebrates
  3. Geology
    1. Contemporary Issues
    2. Paleogeology
  4. Geography
    1. Specific Locations
      1. Atlantic/Carribean
      2. Australia
      3. Hawai'i
      4. Indo-Pacific
      5. Red Sea
    2. Spatial Relations, Scale Issues, and Mapping
  5. Pictures


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