Dr. Benjamin Mueller

Dr. Benjamin Mueller

Ben MuellerCARMABI Foundation
Piscaderabaai z/n
Willemstad, Curaçao
P.O. 2090
Tel: +(5999)

Education and degrees:
2010: Diploma in Biology (equiv. to M.Sc.), University of Rostock, Germany. 2015: Ph.D. in Biology, Utrecht University

General research interests:
Coral reef ecology; DOM dynamics and element cycling on coral reefs; DOM release and uptake mechanisms; Bioerosion; Bioremediation.

Research interests on Curaçao:

During my Ph.D. I was testing the hypothesis if the current increase in benthic algae stimulates sponge bioerosion on Caribbean reefs via enhanced dissolved organic carbon (DOC) production. Funded by the European Project FORCE (Future of Reefs in a Changing Environment) I spent more than 2 years on Curaçao and Bonaire conducting lab and field experiments to answer the following research questions: (1) Do algae release more DOC than corals, (2) how do nutrients and light availability affect the DOC release of benthic primary producers, (3) are excavating sponges feeding on DOC, and (4) does increased availability of DOC stimulate bioerosion rates of excavating sponges.

In the past year I mainly investigated the combined effects of light and nutrient availability on the outcome of turf algal-coral interactions and explored diurnal patterns in the dissolved organic matter release of turf algae.

Recent publications relevant to Curaçao: (link to research gate for free pdf downloads)

  • Mueller B., Den Haan J., Visser P.M., Vermeij M.J.A., Van Duyl F.C. (2016) Effect of light and nutrient availability on the release of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) by Caribbean turf algae. Scientific Reports 6:23248.
  • Chamberland V., Petersen D., Latijnhouwers K., Snowden S., Mueller B., Vermeij M. (2016) Four-year-old Caribbean Acropora colonies reared from field-collected gametes are sexually mature. Bull Mar Sci
  • Alexander B.E., Mueller B, Vermeij M.J.A., van der Geest H.H.G., de Goeij J.M.(2015) Biofouling of inlet pipes affects water quality in running seawater aquaria and compromises sponge cell proliferation. PeerJ, 3:e1430.
  • Mueller B. (2015) Shedding light on DOC release by benthic primary producers by benthic primary producers and its consumption by bioeroding sponges. PhD-thesis, Utrech University, 139 pages.
  • Brocke H.J., Wenzhoefer F., de Beer D., Mueller B., van Duyl F.C., Nugues M.M. (2015) High dissolved organic carbon release by benthic cyanobacterial mats in a Caribbean reef ecosystem. Scientific reports 5:8852
  • Mueller B., van der Zande R.M., van Leent P.J.M., Meesters E.H., Vermeij M.J.A., van Duyl F.C. (2014b) Effect of light availability on dissolved organic carbon (DOC) release by Caribbean reef algae and corals. Bull Mar Sci.
  • Mueller B., de Goeij J.M., Vermeij M.J.A., Mulders Y., van der Ent E., Ribes M., van Duyl F.C. (2014a) Natural diet of coral-excavating sponges consists mainly of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). PLoS ONE. 9(2): e90152. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090152.
  • Meesters E.H., Mueller B., and Nugues M.M. (2012) Caribbean free-living coral species co-occurring deep off the windward coast of Curaçao. Coral Reefs DOI 10.1007/s00338-012-0960-6