Coral reefs are in serious decline, and research in support of reef management objectives is urgently needed. Reef connectivity analyses have been highlighted as one of the major future research avenues necessary for implementing effective management initiatives for coral reefs. Despite the number of new molecular genetic tools and the wealth of information that is now available for population-level processes in many marine disciplines, scleractinian coral population genetic information remains surprisingly limited. Here we examine the technical problems and approaches used, address the reasons contributing to this delay in understanding, and discuss the future of coral population marker development. Considerable resources are needed to target the immediate development of an array of relevant genetic markers coupled with the rapid production of management focused data in order to help conserve our globally threatened coral reef resources.