This volume marks the inaugural issue of the Paleontological Society Papers. This series, established by The Paleontological Society in 1996, replaces the Paleontological Society Short Course Notes, which ceased to be published in November 1995, and the Paleontological Society Special Publications, which ceased to be published in June 1996. Most of the contributions in the new series are invited papers presented at the Short Courses on Paleontology sponsored by the Society at the annual meetings of the Geological Society of America.
Because of their prodigious abilities for rapid calcification, corals today and in the past have been principal reef builders. The mere mention of corals evokes colorful and vivid image of tropical settings, swaying palm trees, and the crash of waves against the coral-dominated, biologically complex edifice we call the reef. Most geologists, educators, and students are aware of new developments in ecology and evolution of modem and ancient reefs, but they are probably less aware of studies of corals that build reefs. Understanding ancient examples rests on a foundation of modem coral biology and taxonomy. This volume summarizes the 1996 Paleontological Society Short course "Paleobiology and Biology of Corals." Twelve intemational authors present current and cutting-edge topics in coral research in the fields of coral paleobiology by exploring some of the latest ideas on evolution. biogeography, and taxonomy.
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