Coral reefs are among the most diverse, unique and beautiful of ecosystems on the planet. Alas, they are also quite vulnerable to various environmental assaults and most of the reefs on earth are in real jeopardy. Students will learn the taxonomy, identification and characteristics of the animals which live in coral reefs. We will discuss the major biological innovations that have permitted the evolution of these extraordinary ecosystems. This course can serve as a prerequisite for the winter Field Course in Coral Reef Biology in Grand Cayman.