Coral reef hydrodynamics is an interdisciplinary subject involving the knowledge of ecology,environment,geology and engineering. This subject not only offers theoretical reference for the ecosystem protection and the coastline evolution around the reef island,but also serves the decision-making process for the reef-coast hazard prevention and the reef-island engineering construction. In this study,based on a comprehensive literature review as well as the author’s previous work,the state-of-the-art research advances on coral reef hydrodynamics are summarized in view of the following four aspects:field observation,theoretical analysis,laboratory experiment,and numerical simulation. The research prospects are subsequently provided as follows:the field observation could focus on those reefs in South China Sea,the theoretical analysis could attempt to use the nonlinear wave theory,the laboratory experiment could reproduce the hydrodynamics at field scale based on the large-scale wave flume as well as the wave basin,and the numerical simulation could turn to the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to simulate the interaction between wave and reef at finer scale. This study serves to guide the future relevant researches on coral reef hydrodynamics in China.