Gulf of Maine Marine Habitat Primer

cover-largeThe Gulf of Maine Marine Habitat Primer

  • enhances understanding of marine habitats in the Gulf of Maine;
  • provides background needed to make more informed decisions on human uses, management, and conservation; and
  • provides an initial step toward a habitat conservation strategy for the Gulf of Maine, which will be developed in partnership with organizations around the Gulf.

The primer is available now for downloading in printer-friendly PDF format. Click the links below to download the primer.

Printed copies of the primer are available. To request a copy, please email or call the contacts listed below.

The Gulf of Maine contains rich habitats that are affected by many human activities. The 56-page Gulf of Maine Marine Habitat Primer provides an overview of the Gulf of Maine’s coastal and offshore habitats for resource managers and other coastal decision-makers in government, NGOs, and the private sector. Beautifully illustrated with color photographs and drawings, the primer describes habitat characteristics, ecological functions, economic and recreational values, human impacts, and management considerations. The primer is intended as a useful tool for resource managers, planners, legislators, conservation commissioners, NGO staff members, and other people seeking a better understanding of marine habitats from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia.

The primer is a collaborative project of the Habitat Conservation Subcommittee and the Science Translation Project.


Download the primer

Download the Gulf of Maine Marine Habitat Primer in printer-friendly PDF format by clicking the following links.


01-coverSection 1: Front matter (PDF, 410 KB)
Front cover
Table of contents


02-introductionSection 2: Introduction (PDF, 495 KB)
Overview of habitat types
Habitat complexity and species diversity
Habitats are interconnected
Regional setting: The Gulf of Maine


03-physicalhabitatsSection 3: Physical habitats (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Rocky habitats
Sandy habitats
Muddy habitats
Water column


04-biogenichabitatsSection 4: Biogenic habitats (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Salt marshes
Seagrass beds
Kelp beds
Shellfish beds
Cold-water corals


05-habitatsbyhumansSection 5: Habitats formed by human activity (PDF, 630 KB)
Invasive-plant habitats (Phragmites and Codium)
Fouling communities


06-conclusionSection 6: Conclusion (PDF, 183 KB)
Back cover


Get involved

To get involved in Habitat Conservation Subcommittee activities, including the collaborative efforts to develop and implement conservation strategies for the Gulf of Maine’s marine habitats, please contact:

Marianne Janowicz, GOMC Habitat Conservation Subcommittee co-chair
New Brunswick Dept of Environment and Local Government
Telephone: (506) 457-4923



The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment thanks the following organizations for financial support to print the Gulf of Maine Marine Habitat Primer:

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada
  • Maine Coastal Program
  • Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Sea Grant


About the Science Translation project

The Science Translation Project provides scientific information to state, provincial, and federal decision-makers to advance ecosystem-based management in the Gulf of Maine and its watershed. The project is supported by:

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET)
  • Maine Sea Grant
  • Maine State Planning Office
  • Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
  • New Hampshire Coastal Program
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Sea Grant
  • Environment Canada