Abstract:Reefs, known as the “tropical rainforest” in the ocean, are an advanced ecosystem composed of various organisms, and both modern and ancient reefs are very sensitive to climatic and environmental changes. In the geological times, the development and evolution of reefs were influenced by paleoenvironment and paleoclimate, represented by the coupling of Carboniferous reefs and the late Paleozoic ice age. The late Paleozoic ice age was one of the most important cooling events since the Phanerozoic, with a duration from the end-Devonian to early Permian, which leaded to the dramatic changes in paleoenvironment and paleoclimate, and had a profound impact on the Carboniferous reef ecosystem. Over the years, with the unremitting efforts of geological scientists, many research achievements have been made in the late Paleozoic ice age and Carboniferous reefs, but the interaction between them has not been studied in detail. In this paper, both current research status of late Paleozoic ice age and Carboniferous reefs were systematically summarized to better reveal their coupling relationship. The Carboniferous reefs experienced a special evolution history which show strong relations to the development of the late Paleozoic ice age and there was a good correspondence between the thriving or decline of the reefs and climatic warming or cooling.