A study of coral reefs is of great theoretical and practical importance in biology, geology, ecology, and for understanding the history of ocean basins and seacoasts. As a biological formation, the reef represents one of the rare natural marine ecosystem models with the highest biological productivity. Contemporary reef systems exert an extremely important influence on the overall biological control of the World Ocean. Coral reefs have been recognized as one of the richest natural ecosystems and could be considered a prototype of a highly productive marine economy.
Historical resume of research on reefs; Problems in studies of the reef ecosystem; Morphology and facies; Biology of corals; Stability of reef system against destruction; Analysis of energetics of natural reefs; Lithogenic processes in the reef; Modelling the reef ecosystem; Principles of reef classification; Brief description of some reefs; Problems of reef formation; Addendum.