23,747 entries
1,696 species
0 genera
0 peer-reviewed articles

The Reef Traits Database (RTD) is a unique, specimen based compilation of reef builders’ traits. The database currently focuses on scleractinian corals and it covers the time period from the Triassic (~ 250 Ma) until today. The Database is designed in a way that provides easy integration with the biggest resource of paleontological data - the Paleobiology Database. This project is part of the CoralTrace project under the umbrella of the TERSANE project (Research Unit 2332) funded by Deutsche Forchungs Gemeinschaft (German Research Foundation).

What are reef builders?

Reef builders are organisms that construct complex geobiological structures that we call reefs. Corals are the main reef builders today, but other organisms such as sponges, bivalves, and algae contribute to reef building as well. However, there were times in geological history when corals were common reef dwellers, but did not build reefs. Such was the time at the end Cretaceous (~ 66 Ma) when rudist bivalves were the dominant reef builders, while corals were only a minor contributor to reef building.

What are scleractinian corals?

Scleractinian corals are the dominant reef builders in modern oceans. They are mostly confined to warm, shallow waters within the low latitudes. They serve as hubs for tropical marine biodiversity, providing habitat for more than one million species. Modern corals are extremely sensitive to stressors such as global warming, acidification, and pollution.

Which fossil traits do (can) we use for study?

Every organism is characterized by a number of traits that can be morphological, reproductive, ecological, geographical, etc. However, morphological traits are best preserved in fossil organisms.


First 10 rows:
To be updated

The Ancient Reef Traits Database

The Ancient Reef Traits (ART) database is a compilation of fossil traits of organisms that are known to have been reef in the geological record. The first phase of the project is currently focusing on Scleractinian corals, the reef-builders in the modern ocean. Within the ART database, multiple observations and measurements, referred to as traits are compiled. Anyone collecting trait data (e.g. from the field, laboratory studies, literature, or by any other means) is welcome to join and contribute to the database.

Contact a member of the Managerial Board if you're interested in contributing to the database or to report any issues.

Meet our Team

Who's behind the ART Database?

Managerial Board

Contact a member of the Managerial Board to report any issues or if you would like to contribute to the database.

Nussaïbah B. Raja
Database Administrator
Danijela Dimitrijević
Data Curator
Wolfgang Kiessling
Project Lead
Technical Staff
Cristina Krause
Database Programmer