Ms. Valerie Chamberland

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Ms. Valerie Chamberland

Ms. Valerie ChamberlandPhD student
CARMABI Foundation
Piscaderabaai z/n
Willemstad, Curaçao
P.O. 2090
Tel: +(5999) 5103186

Education and degrees:
2011: M.Sc. Development, Interactions and Evolution of Living Organisms, University of Perpignan, Via Domittia, France.
2008: B.Sc. Marine Biology, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Canada.

General research interests:
Coral reef ecology; Sexual coral reproduction; Coral recruitment; Coral population dynamics; Coral reef restoration and management.

Research interests on Curaçao:
I am currently pursuing my doctoral studies in affiliation with the University of Amsterdam and within the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED). My work is supervised by Dr. Mark Vermeij (Science Director, CARMABI) and Dr. Dirk Petersen (President, SECORE Foundation). My PhD degree centers on the environmental factors driving recruitment success in Caribbean corals, with the aim of applying my findings to improve coral reef restoration programs such as the SECORE initiative. SECORE, which stands for Sexual Coral Reproduction (click here for SECORE’s website), aims at combining the knowledge and experience of professional aquarists to that of coral reef researchers to rear sexually produced coral offspring ex situ, and to introduce these young corals to reef to promote reef recovery.

Throughout my PhD degree, I will conduct manipulative experiments with coral larvae/ recruits in order to identify which underlying factors and processes determine post-settlement performance in corals, such as: parental effects (e.g., energy provisioning, genotype/ ecotype), planktonic life experiences (e.g., sub-optimal environmental conditions), and post-settlement experiences (e.g., nutrient enrichment, benthic community composition, predation, competition). Several experiments will also be carried out to test the efficiency of current and novel restoration techniques developed by the SECORE Foundation. Questions such as the following will be addressed:
–    What is the optimal age/ size to introduce recruits to the reef?
–    Do young corals reared in a land based nursery benefit from an intermediate mid-water nursery phase before being transplanted to the reef?
–    Do strong genetic bottlenecks occur in artificially reared coral populations?

Additional ongoing research topics include the following:
–    Differential maternal provisioning in coral offspring;
–    Influence of nutrients on pre and post-settlement performance of Caribbean corals;
–    Acclimatization potential in young corals.

Recent publications relevant to Curaçao:

  • Hartmann AC, Marhaver KL, Chamberland VF, Sandin SA & Vermeij MJA (2013) Large birth size does not reduce negative latent effects of harsh environments across life stages in two coral species. Ecology, 94: 1966–1976
  • de León R, Vane K, Bertuol P, Chamberland VF, Simal F, Imms E & Vermeij MJA (2013) Effectiveness of lionfish removal efforts in the southern Caribbean. Endangered Species Research, 22: 175-182.
Photo: Paul Selvaggio