Facing the Guadeloupe Channel, the northern shores
of of Dominica are characterized by a diverse array of habitats.
While the area between Capucin and Carib Point (1) is characterized
by cliffs and a rocky sublittoral with low epibenthic cover, seagrass
beds, and fringing reef systems line many bays and coves between
Blenheim and Pointe La Soie.
The fringing reefs in
this region constitute the largest area of this habitat type in
Dominica. White sandy beaches are also found in this region and
are testament of the extensive reef formations which are the source
of the "white sand" made from ground up coral skeletons
and other calcareous structures produced by organisms. On the
windward side of the small islands sheltering Hodges Bay, the
sea floor (for thousands of square meters) is "tiled"
by fragments of the branching "elkhorn coral" A.
palmata skeletons. This is another indication of how important
this species used to be in shaping the coral reefs of the northern
region. The North also harbors the widest shelf areas of Dominica
with a width of over 1 km at some locations possibly including
extensive deep reef systems.
The seagrass beds of this region
are marked by the abundance of Thalassia, which is far
less abundant along the western shores. Reef flats (e.g Anse Soldat,
Calibishie) and sheltered bays (e.g. Hodges Bay) are where they
are typically found. To date, invasive species have not been identified
in this region.
each of the following areas, colored dots (see key below map) mark
the presence of specific habitats baring sessile epibenthic communities.
The areas / sites are: 1. Capucin to Carib Point; 2. Carib
Point to Blenheim River (work in progress); 3. Blenheim River to
Pointe La Soie; 4. Pointe La Soie to Melville River (work in progress).