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 © 2006-2014  Mercier-Hamelast updated:

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

 

Academic site     Research activities     Research at sea

Some of my most significant contributions have centered on the reproductive biology and chemical ecology of marine invertebrates. I am particularly interested in the interactive/complementary roles played by environmental factors and endogenous processes during gamete maturation, spawning, settlement and post-metamorphic migrations.  I typically like to combine laboratory and field experiments, and to focus my research objectives toward interdisciplinary paths, mixing investigations at the behavioural level with microscopic and molecular analyses as well as larger oceanographic studies.

 

I also have a special interest in deep-sea invertebrates, (i.e. corals, echinoderms, molluscs). Besides studying preserved specimens from bathyal depths, I am investigating the biology and reproductive ecology of live animals maintained in the laboratory. See the story we wrote on our deep-sea adventure in the April 08 issue of Canadian Geographic

 

It was while pursuing fundamental research on the reproductive strategies of cold-water echinoderms that I was approached by teams involved in sea cucumber fishery and aquaculture programs. In the midst of the worldwide overfishing crisis, basic knowledge of holothurian ecology is sorely lacking for numerous commercial species. Hence, I often assist in the development of applied techniques, including spawning induction and larval rearing methods, not to mention closing the life cycle of some species for the first time.

 

Over the past 20 years, I have carried the best part of my work in collaboration with my husband, Jean-François Hamel, in Canada, Solomon Islands, Micronesia and Ecuador. Together we have founded the Society for the Exploration & Valuing of the Environment (SEVE), which is dedicated to research and outreach.

Areas of research - Annie Mercier

Fundamental and applied aspects of benthic invertebrate ecology

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Chronobiology of reproduction with emphasis on the role of exogenous and endogenous factors and inter-individual chemical communication in the fine-tuning of gametogenesis and spawning;

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Other aspects of the reproductive cycle in coastal and deep-sea invertebrates: spawning, gamete dispersion, larval development, settlement cues, juvenile growth and ecology;

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Interactions such as pairing and aggregative patterns, prey-predator responses, parasitism, symbiosis;

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Conservation, fisheries and aquaculture of marine invertebrates;

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Effects of disturbances on the reproduction and symbiotic relationships of marine invertebrates.