ITME - Marine Habitats of Dominica, Version 2008
Many sites in Dominica have extremely dangerous coastal waters. It is thus highly recommended that you first consult with persons knowledgeable of the hazards at the sites of your interest. Contacting the Fisheries Division in Roseau, at (767) 266 5291, is a first step.


This 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.

REFERENCING: If you wish to use or quote any information provided within this website, you should provide a proper reference and link as follows:

Steiner, SCC (2008) Marine Habitats of Dominica (, viewed dd-mm-yyyy.

Using the Website

The gathered environmental information, has been organized in such a manner, that the user can choose to "explore" Dominica via specific regions or habitat types.
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.

Website - Background

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.

About Version 2007

In 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).

Work 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.

Status 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.

Names 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.

About Version 2008

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.

New features include web site tutorials and PDF copies of all reports.



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