Corals of the World online is a modernized version of the old staple website for coral identification, Coral Search. Before Coral Search the average aquarist would have been hardpressed to name more than a dozen species of stony corals, and we were totally clueless about many of the oddball genera like Schizoculina, Australomussa and Heteropsammia.
The new Corals of the World online has a souped-up navigation system with three main section to the website: Corals and Coral Reefs, Coral ID and Coral Geographic. We haven’t even yet begun to peruse the new COTW online but something tells us that the Coral Geographic subsection will be particularly attractive to live coral dealers and collectors looking to get a better feel for which corals species live in certain areas. Full press release about the launch of Corals of the World online after the break.
Corals of the World online is an interactive program which captures global information about corals and makes it readily accessible to conservationists, educators and research scientists alike. The program is divided into two linked components, Coral ID and Coral Geographic.
Coral ID is founded on the three-volume book, “Corals of the World” (Veron, 2000) and incorporates the species data in the electronic publication “Coral ID” (Veron and Stafford-Smith, 2002). Species pages give summaries of key characteristics as well as taxonomic detail of 794 species of hard coral. Over 6500 colour and black and white photos expand on those published previously.
Coral Geographic has not been previously published although it has been providing geographic data about corals since the early 1990s. At this time, geographic information are provided as an interactive distribution map for each species.
The site also contains supporting information about corals and coral reefs.
In Early 2001 the physical copy of Corals of the World by Charles Veron was released and the three-volume set retailed for up to $200. The Coral Search website remained an important source of coral identification. After being around for most of the two thousands without a real working search function, Coral Search went offline for what seemed like most of 2008. When Coral Search came back online in January 2009, you could finally search its capacious database but it still retained much of the wonky navigation. In fall 2009 we learned that Corals ID, the CD version of the COTW book would be published online in 2010 but that didn’t happen until now. Corals of the World online is probably the richest source for coral taxonomy and biogeography and we won’t complain about having to wait an extra year for such an amazing new resource.