Corals grow in clear tropical waters, limited by symbiotic zooxanthellae to those depths where there is sufficient light for photosynthesis. Radiometric dating of fossil corals sampled from reef terraces has provided a chronology of sea-level highstands. Studies have focused particularly on the Last Interglacial shoreline (marine oxygen isotope substages 5e, 5c, and 5a), but include the penultimate (stage 7) and several earlier interglacials. Dating flights of reef terraces on uplifted coasts, such as Barbados and northern New Guinea, have identified a series of sea-level transgressions and regressions, cross-correlated with deep-sea cores, and driven by variations in the earth's orbit. Drilling into the foundations of modern reefs has provided a relatively consistent pantropical record of postglacial sea-level rise. Fossil reefs provide evidence for detailed reconstructions of Holocene sea level in those parts of the tropics where reefs grow, showing geographical variation which has been influenced by hydroisostatic adjustments. A pattern of decelerating sea-level rise from the western Atlantic contrasts with a mid-Holocene sea-level highstand in the Indo-Pacific region. Some reefs kept up with sea level but many lagged behind, and only a few individual corals provide clear indications of the height of the former sea surface. Microatolls, disk-shaped corals that have grown into the intertidal zone and whose lateral growth has been limited by exposure at low tide, do track sea level and their upper surface contains low-resolution records of interannual sea-level variations at decadal to century scale.