Florida Bay / Puerto Rico Field Trip Coral Lab

by Jennifer Chidsey

A guide for identifying common shallow water Caribbean reef coral

This guide is designed to assist you with coral identification, especially if you are attending the Florida Bay or Puerto Rico Field Trip. In this activity, you will find pictures of coral specimens you are likely to see in the field, and you will learn to identify them based on morphology. You will also become familiar with the taxonomy and life style of these reef dwellers. In addition, you will gain experience using the WWW as a data resource. Specifically, you will become familiar with the Neogene Marine Biota of Tropical America (NMITA) database.

Many other sources of interest are linked to this page, and they can be selected from the choices below. Included are two identification tools. The Identification Key is based on the specimens given in this lab. Morphological characters mentioned in the Identification Key are linked to a glossary in NMITA. Specimens, once identified, are linked to their species page in the database. The second tool, NMITA coral identification tool is designed to allow identification of specimens based on the combined selection of seven character traits. Either tool may be used to identify the unknown specimens, but the Identification Key was designed to allow these lab specimens to be differentiated.

Unknowns are photographs selected from the NMITA database. Actual specimens will also be provided to be viewed in conjunction with the photographs. A list of species used in this lab is included to facilitate the set up of this activity for other users.

Finally, more information can be obtained about NMITA and the Florida Bay/ Puerto Rico Field Trip Course.

Last updated on October 17, 1997-jlc.