document is designed as a reference and guide for those seeking
information on Dominica's marine environments, in particular on
sessile epibenthic communities. It is aimed at the general public,
nature lovers, students in environmental sciences, researchers planning
field work, policy makers, as well as visitors to the island.
The information contained here is based on the exploration and research
carried out by students and staff of the Institute for Tropical
Marine Ecology, Inc. (ITME), located in the Commonwealth of
Dominica, West Indies. While the document provides a general overview,
complementing the Institute's dissemination of its environmental
findings, further details can be found in the reports
listed. These references include scientific publications (peer
reviewed), as well as research reports and public media release.
If you wish to use or quote any information
provided within this website, you should provide a proper reference
and link as follows:
SCC (2008) Marine Habitats of Dominica (http:www.itme.org/mhdm),
gathered environmental information, has been organized in such a
manner, that the user can choose to "explore" Dominica
via specific regions or habitat
If you choose to explore the island via regions, you will
be led through marine sites in the particular region of your
choice. Each site is defined and described through a variety of
parameters and features, including the specific habitat types
and organisms (taxa) found at each particular location. If
you choose to explore the island via habitats, you will be
introduced to the occurrence and distribution of sites harboring
the specific habitats of your choice. In addition, the left column
(blue) on every page will allow you to look into the presence of
specific organism groups or species.
The idea for this document came from Sascha
Steiner in view of the fact that the vast majority of environmental
observations and records generated by field biologists remain
in their field journals, inaccessible to persons interested in
the topic. The idea for a digital format arose in discussions
between Sascha Steiner, Kim McDonald and Jeremy
Kerr in 2005 and 2006. A pilot version was created in 2006
by Sascha Steiner (overall concept and texts) and Jeremy Kerr
(construction of document structure, compilation of reports and
species lists) in the form of a compact disc. With the disc's
completion, it became clear that making this information accessible
to an even wider audience, while allowing for quick and frequent
updates, was necessary to better fulfill the purpose of this document
and the mission of ITME.
preparation for this version, a broad scale field survey of Dominica
was implemented during October and November 2007. The objective
was to "close the gaps" in the existing records on the
marine habitat types and their distribution. Reports are in preparation.
Led by S. Steiner, the survey team included N. Wallover, D.
Willette, K. Wilson, K. Macfarlane and L. Price. Additional
contributions of the team members included, text, photos and website
development (SS), species lists (NW), detailed seagrass
community analysis and assessment of invasive species (DW),
data compilation (KW), preliminary area estimates of individual
habitat categories (KM & LP).
in Progress: Several
sites areas have not yet, or only marginally, been surveyed. New
information about these areas will be included in future versions
of these pages.
of Marine Habitats: is a page dedicated to the summarizing
the current status of Dominica's benthic marine habitats. Disease
outbreaks, bleaching events, die offs, habitat alterations, invasive
species etc. will also be highlighted if/when they occur.
and Maps: Site names used here are based on the maps published
by the British Government's Ministry of Overseas Development.
Series E803, Edition 4 DOS 1978, Scale 1:25000. Topographic maps
used here are adapted from those produced by
Dr. Ian C.F. Stewart.
Since the launching of this site, many of the knowledge
gaps on the habitat distribution in Dominica have been closed. At
this point 90% of Dominica's near-shore marine environmments have
been assesed by ITME. S. Steiner and D. Willette
(April - July 08) provided most of the information which has been
compiled in detailed regional habtiat maps (not yet posted). In
addition, broad-scale seagrass surveys were carried out by S.
Steiner, K. Macfarlane and L. Price. These studies (still in
progress) have shed new light on what was emerging in 2007, which
is that seagrass beds are Dominica's largest organism-built marine
habitat. In conjuction with the Fall 2008 Student Research Team,
K. Macfarlane and L. Price also revised existing species lists.
features include web site tutorials and PDF copies
of all reports.