Research Station Carmabi
Dr. Maggy Nugues
Maître de conférences EPHE / Associate Professor
USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE-CRIOBE
Laboratoire d’Excellence “CORAIL”
Université de Perpignan (UPVD)
Centre de Biologie et d’Ecologie Tropicale et Méditerranéenne (CBETM)
58 Av. Paul Alduy – 66860 Perpignan cedex, France
Centre de Recherche Insulaire et Observatoire de l’Environnement (CRIOBE)
BP 1013 – 98 729, Papetoai, Moorea, Polynésie française
Education and Degrees:
1994 Diplome d’Ingénieur Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Institut Supérieur d’Agriculture, France.
1995 M.Sc. Aquaculture, University of Stirling, UK.
2000 Ph.D. Conservation Biology, University of York, UK.
Recent publications relevant to Curacao:
- Nugues, M.M. and R.P.M. Bak (2008). Long-term dynamics of the brown macroalga Lobophora variegata on deep reefs in Curaçao. Coral Reefs 27: 389–393.
- Nugues, M.M. and R.P.M. Bak (2007) Dark spot syndrome: recent or old? Coral Reefs 26: 359.
- Nugues, M.M. and I. Nagelkerken (2006) Status of aspergillosis and sea fan populations in Curaçao ten years after the 1995 Caribbean epizootic. Rev. Biol. Trop. 54 (Suppl. 3): 153-160.
- Nugues, M.M. and A.M. Szmant (2006) Coral settlement onto Halimeda opuntia: a fatal attraction to an ephemeral substrate? Coral Reefs 25: 585–591.
- Nugues, M.M. and R.P.M. Bak (2006) Differential competitive abilities between Caribbean coral species and a brown alga: a year of experiments and a long term perspective. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 315: 75-86.
- Nugues, M.M., Smith, G.W., van Hooidonk, R.J., Seabra, M.I. and R.P.M. Bak (2004) Algal contact as a trigger for coral disease. Ecology Letters 7: 919-923.
- Nugues, M.M., Delvoye, L. and R.P.M. Bak (2004) Coral defense against macroalgae: differential effects of mesenterial filaments on the green alga Halimeda opuntia. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 278: 103-114.
General research Interests:
Coral reef ecology; community and population dynamics; marine conservation and management
Research interests on Curacao:
Coral reefs are clearly struggling. Within the last 40 years, corals have died off, densities of herbivorous fishes and urchins have collapsed, and many reefs have become dominated by macroalgae. Sadly, Curaçao has not been spared by these changes. Since 2002, my research at Carmabi has been focused on ecological processes and mechanisms driving coral-algal phase shifts and their possibility of reversal.
Sudden and large-scale increases in macroalgal abundance coinciding with declines in coral cover has led to the widespread assumption that macroalgae have been killing and overgrowing corals. My earlier work demonstrated that, contrary to the prevailing paradigm, macroalgae in general cannot kill corals via competitive overgrowth, and identified varied response of different coral species to macroalgae. Much of this pioneering work was conducted in collaboration with Prof. Rolf Bak who introduced me to Curaçao’s reefs.
In studying mechanisms of coral defense against macroalgae, we discovered that some coral species were able to extrude mesenterial filaments against a number of algal species and cause persistent discoloration due to the movement of chloroplasts in the green alga Halimeda opuntia. While this mechanism could explain coral resistance against algal overgrowth, we also found that contact with this alga could trigger white plague in the reef building coral Montastraea faveolata and act as a reservoir for the disease pathogen Aurantimonas coralicida.
This finding fueled my interest for coral diseases. In 2003, I started a coral disease monitoring program in Curaçao and, in 2005, I surveyed aspergillosis in sea fan communities together with students from a coral reef field course. More recently, my work has expanded to include processes of recovery via coral recruitment, including the role of macroalgal overgrowth and herbivory in the settlement and post-settlement survival of reef corals. Two of my students recently completed a project looking at the effect of grazing by Diadema antillarum on coral recruitment in Curaçao.
My future research directions include the biology and ecology of coral early life stages, the role of herbivory in reef recovery and resilience, the recovery of coral assemblages following bleaching and disease, coral/algal interaction mechanisms, and the etiology of coral diseases. I welcome students interested by these topics to contact me.