ITME - Marine Habitats of Dominica Version 2008

Coral Habitats on Consolidated Rocks

Often misidentified as true coral reefs, Dominica's west coast harbors a variety of coral habitats that have grown on rocks consolidated by calcareous organisms over time. All these habitats are characterized by rounded rocks, originating either from beach settings or river beds. And that is where they are found, along small bays / beaches with river mouths that chronically dry up. In some cases the consolidated rock formations lie parallel to shore. In other cases the formation runs perpendicular to shore. The former (small beaches north of Salisbury beach) is possibly formed through the solidification of beach fronts where the beach has receded towards land over time. The latter (e.g. Clifton / Hermitage River) probably originates from strong and acute, avalanche-like, outputs of river rocks during severe storms or flooding events.

Mostly found along the calmer west coast, these well sorted and consolidated deposits of rocks provide the structural stability and durability for corals and other reef organisms to colonize the substrate. Representative examples are found near the Clifton / Hermitage River and near Mero where portions of Berry's Dream Reef are in built on such deposits.




The top row depicts communities composed of turf algae, sponges, hydrocorals, corals and soft corals. Bottom (lei) consolidated rock encrusted by calcareous algae (Porolithon) and fire corals (Millepora). Bottom(ri) sea fans (Gorgonia) dominating consolidated rock substrates.


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