Many species of scleractinian reef corals deposit aragonite skeletons with cyclic bands of higher and lower density whose periodicity is annual. As these growth bands are frequently preserved in fossil corals, attention has been focused on their possible use as environmental indicators in as much as density variations may reflect changes in water temperature and/or light intensity. Relationships between skeletal growth banding and environmental parameters have been investigated by X-radiographic examination of 1488 specimens of modern reef corals representing 31 reef localities widely distributed over the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean regions. Average monthly seawater temperature and solar radiation data are available for each locality, and the date of collection is known for each sample. Of the 47 genera and subgenera included in the study, density variations were most pronounced in skeletons of Astreopora, Coscinarea, Cyphastrea, Favia (especially species with small corallites such as F. stelligera), Goniastrea, Hydnophora (massive forms only, e.g. M. microconos), Leptoria, Montastrea (especially M. annularis, with small corallites), Pavona, Polyastra, and Plesiastrea. Less useful are Diploastrea, Diploria, and Favites (which tend to have large corallite diameters), and Goniopora, Alveopora, Porites, Siderastrea, and Stephanaria (which frequently exhibit numerous secondary density variations within the annual cycle). Despite considerable variability among different individual corals from the same population, the average thickness of the skeletal growth bands is positively correlated with mean annual water temperature. By comparing characteristics of the outermost growth increment and the date of collection with monthly records of water temperature and solar radiation, it appears that maximum skeletal density is associated with those periods of the year when seawater temperature is above average.