This paper aims to validate reference genes for gene expression studies between light and dark conditions in the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata for future gene expression studies of the "light-enhanced calcification" phenomenon. For this purpose, we cloned, sequenced, and characterized a candidate reference gene, the 36B4 gene from the coral S. pistillata, and validated 36B4 and beta-actin as reference genes. To illustrate the future applications of these reference genes, we tested the dark and light expression of two photosynthetic genes (Rubisco and D1 protein of the photosystem II) and two genes encoding proteins involved in calcium transport for coral calcification (a calcium ATPase and a calcium channel). Results show that both photosynthetic genes are enhanced during the light when standardized against 36B4 and beta-actin, whereas the two genes encoding proteins involved in calcium transport are not differentially expressed between light and dark conditions. The characterization of a coral 36B4 and the establishment of such valid reference genes will be useful for future gene expression studies between diverse conditions (aposymbiotic/symbiotic, stress/control, light/dark conditions) in scleractinian corals.