Saturday, August 19, 2017

Coral Finder

If you are just beginning your coral identification journey, the best way to get started is to check out the training movies in the Learning Centre followed by the worked example.  Or read on for more background.

The Coral Finder: What is it?

The Coral Finder is a robust plastic book that you can take underwater. But those who have used it come to think of  it more like a “tool” for answering the question “What coral is that?” Unlike a book which is read from beginning to end, the Coral Finder is interrogated and is more like a visual dictionary of coral form and texture.

The Coral Finder guides you to the right identification in three easy steps. By choosing a simple visual “Key Group” and answering a plain language question about scale or  texture the front cover (or Key Page) directs you to a Look-Alike page of “best bets” as to what your coral might be. Typically you see the answer and learn about it later by using the Corals Of The World volume and page number provided. Check out the the How To Use the Coral Finder page or the training movies in the Learning Centre.

Why is this important?

It seems quaint that in the 21st Century, some 70 years after the birth of SCUBA diving, most people still learn about the creatures of the underwater world by going for a dive and flicking through the pages of some books after they get home. Surely there is a better way. Would a waterproof book help?  Well in the case of hard corals not really.

That’s because the definitive source of coral wisdom, Charlie Veron’s Corals of the World, runs to three volumes,contains thousands of pictures of about 800 species and is arranged by scientific or “systematic” order.

It’s just not practical to take this incredible publication underwater, and even if you could, when confronted by corals in all their diverse ever-changing forms you still do not know which volume to open!  Back home with a cup of cocoa things don’t get any quicker and most people become discouraged by the lack of any easy way to cut through the detail.

Enter the Coral Finder. Using a visual logic based on form and texture, the Coral Finder acts as a powerful underwater index to Corals of the World that can then send you to the right volume and page number for after dive learning. Don’t have access to Corals of the World? Fear not! The Coral Hub provides a wealth of practical learning resources.

The Coral Finder and the Coral Hub

The Coral Finder fast tracks people into the world of coral identification – see the results of our workshops. The visual logic empowers people to rapidly get the correct genus name of the coral they seek to identify with one curious side effect – initially, you may not know why you are getting to the right answer.

Enter the Coral Hub. The purpose of this web site is to connect the learning loop between the power and ease-of-use of the Coral Finder and the towering mountain of scientific knowledge that exists about corals. The Coral Hub is a user friendly way to join the dots, between theory and practice.

Coral genera not in the Coral Finder

To keep the Coral Finder compact and practical some rare genera were omitted and the choice of images was biased towards typical forms. Here we list the Scleractinian coral genera not included in the Coral Finder

  • Australomussa
  • Barbartoia
  • Cantharellus
  • Dendrophyllia
  • Diaseris
  • Nemenzophyllia
  • Oulastrea
  • Plesiastrea
  • Pseudosiderastrea
  • Siderastrea
  • Tubastrea