An up-dated data base is a matter of importance and urgency in order for encouraging a process-oriented approach to the study of reef evolution.
The evolution of reefs is a major section of a Priority Program of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft devoted to ‘Global and regional controls of biogenic sedimentation’. Biological, paleontological and geological approaches in the study of ancient and modern reefs are needed for providing a better understanding of the following basic questions:
- Biological and non-biological processes responsible for the construction and destruction of recent reefs. Studies should be focused on those processes which might also be regarded as important controls in the history of fossil reefs.
- Paleontologicla data describing the changes in the biological controls of reef development over time. Studies should aim for a better understanding of major crises in the reef ecosystem during the earth's history.
- Geological factors governing the short-term and long-term development of reefs. Studies should be concentrated on the controls of reef accretion by sea-level fluctuations, climatic changes and possible changes in early diagenetic factors.
The Reef Bibliography presented includes more than 4000 references dealing with Cambrian to Pleistocene reefs and more than 750 references referring to processes relevant to the interpretation of ancient reefs.
The constraints of reef evolution will become clearer through intensivying comparative studies of reefs of different ages. The new data base should encourage this comparative research approach.