Dr. Valerie Chamberland

Dr. Valerie Chamberland

Coral Reef Ecologist – Research Scientist at SECORE InternationalCARMABI FoundationPiscaderabaai z/n
Willemstad, Curaçao
P.O. 2090
Tel: +(5999) 5131205


Education and degrees

2018: PhD. University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2011: M.Sc. University of Perpignan, Via Domittia, France.
2008: B.Sc. Université du Québec à Rimouski, Canada.

General research interests:
Coral reef ecology; Coral reproduction; Coral recruitment; Coral larval propagation, Coral reef restoration.

Research interests on Curaçao 

Over the past seven years I have been conducting research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the environmental processes affecting larval recruitment in Caribbean corals, with a particular focus on identifying the conditions under which recruitment will be successful. This is investigated through a series of observational studies and manipulative experiments in the laboratory and under natural conditions. My research interests range from natural history studies documenting the reproductive biology and early life ecology of coral species for which these traits are understudied, to manipulative experiments investigating the effects of anthropogenic disturbances such as overfishing and coastal pollution on the health of young corals. Part of my research also aims at identifying coral populations that produce offspring better capable of coping with stressful conditions on modern-day reefs, whether it is through maternal effects or longer-term mechanisms such as local adaptation.

The findings gathered during these studies are used to optimize and upscale restoration efforts aimed at increasing larval recruitment in threatened coral communities. These applications include the expansion of the range of coral species that can be targeted for larval propagation efforts, the development of 3D-printed substrates designed to provide newly settled corals with shelter from competing algae and predators, and the design of new technologies to enable the mass rearing and outplanting of sexual coral recruits.

Recent publications relevant to Curaçao (pdf’s available upon request):

  • Chamberland VF (2018) Environmental Drivers of Recruitment Success in Caribbean Corals: Applications to Aid the Recovery of Threatened Coral Populations. PhD Thesis, Univeristy of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 244 pages.
  • Chamberland VF, Petersen D, Guest JR, Petersen U, Brittsan M, Vermeij MJA (2017) New seeding approach reduces costs and time to outplant sexually propagated corals for reef restoration. Sci. Rep. 7:18076
  • Chamberland VF, Latijnhouwers KRW, Huisman J, Hartmann AC, Vermeij MJA (2017) Costs and benefits of maternally inherited algal symbionts in coral larvae. Proc. R. Soc. London B Biol. Sci. 284:20170852
  • Chamberland VF, Petersen D, Latijnhouwers KRW, Snowden S, Mueller B, Vermeij MJA (2016) Four-year-old Caribbean Acropora colonies reared from field-collected gametes are sexually mature. Bull. Mar. Sci. 92:263–264
  • Chamberland VF, Snowden S, Marhaver KL, Petersen D, Vermeij MJA (2016) The reproductive biology and early life ecology of a common Caribbean brain coral, Diploria labyrinthiformis (Scleractinia: Faviinae). Coral Reefs 36:83–94
  • Chamberland VF, Vermeij MJA, Brittsan M, Carl M, Schick M, Snowden S, Schrier A, Petersen D (2015) Restoration of critically endangered elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) populations using larvae reared from wild-caught gametes. Glob. Ecol. Conserv. 4:526–537
  • 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
  • Hartmann AC, Sandin SA, Chamberland VF, Marhaver KL, De Goeij JM, Vermeij MJA (2015) Crude oil contamination interrupts settlement of coral larvae after direct exposure ends. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 536:163–173
Photo: Paul Selvaggio