A global database of life-history characteristics, including growth rate, age, maximum size and reproductive parameters, was established for benthic, habitat-forming taxa and associated physical and chemical variables, including depth, temperature, oxygen concentration, salinity and nutrients. The metadata fields are described. At present more than 850 records representing more than 650 taxa from 29 higher taxonomic groups have been incorporated into the database. The database can be used to investigate relationships between and among life-history characteristics and habitat variables. Members are encouraged to contribute additional data and collaborate with analyses.