The molecular revolution and recent re-examinations of type material indicate that all taxonomic revisions that predate the use of molecular tools need to be revisited. Most currently accepted species boundaries are poorly defined and most synonymies are likely to be incorrect. Indeed, it is difficult to be confident of the identity of a single colony in the field even in well-studied locations such as the Great Barrier Reef. Therefore, the identity of all of the 2500+ nominal species of hermatypic corals needs to be tested using multiple lines of evidence, including molecular, morphological, ecological, biological and geographical data.
Key focus elements are:
- Collate all of the type material for the order Scleractinia, in particular the original descriptions and high resolution images of the types, and make this material readily accessible
- Collect topotypes of all nominal species in the order
- Collect representatives of putative novel species
- Delimit species boundaries using multiple lines of evidence, including morphology and a quantitative approach
- Collegiality, communication and a shared vision to see a robust taxonomy arise from the ashes of the old