Annie Mercier

Annie Mercier
Memorial University of Newfoundland · Department of Ocean Sciences

PhD

About

306
Publications
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Introduction
Annie Mercier studies the interactions between benthic marine organisms and environmental factors at various scales. Research questions are addressed using various approaches, typically combining field data and experimental trials with biomarkers and microscopic/cellular analyses. The focus is on endogenous and exogenous drivers of gamete synthesis, spawning, larval development, settlement, and growth. Applied segments include the impact of ocean acidification and fisheries/aquaculture topics.

Publications

Publications (306)
Article
Whole-body chimaeras (organisms composed of genetically distinct cells) have been directly observed in modular/colonial organisms (e.g. corals, sponges, ascidians); whereas in unitary deuterostosmes (including mammals) they have only been detected indirectly through molecular analysis. Here, we document for the first time the step-by-step developme...
Article
Full-text available
While the study of dispersal and connectivity in the ocean typically centers on pelagic species and planktonic larval stages of benthic species, the present work explores an overlooked locomotor means in post‐settlement benthic stages that redefines their dispersal potential. Members of the echinoderm class Holothuroidea colonize a diversity of mar...
Article
While reproduction in deep-sea corals remains incompletely understood, there is a particularly crucial shortage of information related to corals living in deep waters of the Arctic Ocean. In the present study, colonies of the deep-sea pennatulacean coral Umbellula encrinus were collected in Baffin Bay (High Canadian Arctic) at bathyal depths betwee...
Article
The demand and high market price for sea cucumber has led to the collapse of wild stocks for many traditional species in Asia and the Indo-Pacific. New species have therefore been introduced to the markets over recent decades, including Cucumaria frondosa. A fishery for C. frondosa emerged in the USA in the 1980s and quickly developed in Iceland, C...
Article
Full-text available
Recent efforts have been devoted to the link between responses to non-physical stressors and immune states in animals, mostly using human and other vertebrate models. Despite evolutionary relevance, comparatively limited work on the appraisal of predation risk and aspects of cognitive ecology and ecoimmunology has been carried out in non-chordate a...
Article
This paper presents the first records of the brittle star Ophiactis abyssicola in Canadian waters and range extensions of up to 1900 km in the Northwest Atlantic from previously known locations. Samples were collected off northern Labrador and the northern portion of insular Newfoundland (eastern Canada) at 433 and 1097 m depths, respectively. This...
Article
The innate immunity of echinoderms has been a research focus since the early twentieth century, consistently providing ever deeper knowledge of its complexity and evolutionary aspects. At its core are coelomocytes, which are diverse cells collectively known to respond in a variety of ways, including via movement, phagocytosis, and aggregation. Howe...
Chapter
Holothuria scabra is one of the most intensively studied holothuroids, or sea cucumbers (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea), having been discussed in the literature since the early 19th century. The species is important for several reasons: (1) it is widely distributed and historically abundant in several shallow soft-bottom habitats throughout the Indo...
Article
Full-text available
Members of the family Lamippidae are obligate endoparasitic copepods that typically associate with octocorals. In the present work, the association between Lamippe bouligandi and its bathyal sea pen host Anthoptilum grandiflorum was examined. A total of 1463 females and 23 males of L. bouligandi were collected from 195 colonies of A. grandiflorum....
Article
Sea anemones are often presented as a major component of benthic communities and described as ecologically important in benthic food webs. However, studies on the trophic ecology of deep-sea species are rare. Here, the feeding habits and dietary sources of three species of bathyal sea anemones (Actinostola callosa, Actinauge cristata, Urticina sp.)...
Article
Among arthropods, pycnogonids are generally considered of minor ecological significance in marine ecosystems. However, the fact that they can host a wide diversity and high abundance of epibiotic organisms suggests that their role in benthic communities may be underestimated. The present study characterized the diversity, dynamics and role of the e...
Article
The feeding behaviour of deep-sea animals is largely understudied despite being of relevance to assess changes in ecosystems functioning in the face of anthropogenic impacts and climate regime shifts. Here, time-lapse videography in dark, cold-water, flow-through laboratory settings was used to study the behaviours of a gastropod (Buccinum scalarif...
Article
Full-text available
Gersemia rubiformis is a soft coral belonging to the family Nephtheidae, known to provide habitat for many organisms and to play an essential role in benthic ecosystems. The present study examined the relationship between G. rubiformis and the epibiotic amphipod Stenula nordmanni in the coastal waters of eastern Canada. The prevalence of the associ...
Article
Full-text available
Holothuroids (sea cucumbers) are one of the most ubiquitous groups of benthic animals found across diverse marine ecosystems. As echinoderms, they also occupy an important place in the evolutionary hierarchy, sitting close to vertebrates in the deuterostome clade, making them valuable multidisciplinary model organisms. Apart from being ecologically...
Article
Ophiopholis aculeata is a ubiquitous brittle star (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) known to occur from the upper subtidal to the bathyal zone. Individuals from shallow inshore habitats (rhodolith beds and rock fields) and deeper offshore locations in eastern Canada were studied to assess the population structure, habitat selection, diet, and feeding st...
Article
Information on newly settled juveniles and recruitment processes in sea cucumbers is sparse for most commercial species, impeding protection of nursery habitats, which are key to management. Here, the ecology of early life stages of Holothuria floridana was investigated. In laboratory experiments, females released a small number of oocytes, which u...
Chapter
Marine animal forests (MAFs) are constituted by dense aggregations of epibenthic and emergent animals, chiefly members of Porifera (sponges), Cnidaria (hydrozoans and anthozoans, including corals), and Bryozoa. Their three-dimensional structure and collective spatial complexity provide a diversity of habitats for associated fauna. Dispersed throug...
Article
Full-text available
Survival is the greatest imperative of any life form, and the apodid holothuroid echinoderm (Chiridota laevis) exemplifies this in a remarkable manner. This small, 40–50 mm long, soft-bodied sea cucumber normally spends its time hidden underneath rocks in the shallow waters of the North Atlantic. However, a recent discovery showed that C. laevis is...
Article
While so-called brown bodies were first defined in the 1950s as colorful aggregates of cells in the general cavity of echinoderms and other marine benthic taxa, their distribution and role have not yet been fully clarified. This work characterized free coelomocytes and corresponding aggregates (“bodies”) in the hydrovascular system and perivisceral...
Article
Deep-sea nudibranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) have rarely been reported from eastern Canada. Here we describe range extensions for two species found in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Tritonia newfoundlandica Valdés, Murillo, McCarthy & Yedinak, 2017 was originally collected on the Flemish Cap off Newfoundland, Canada, and Doridoxa ingo...
Article
Full-text available
Literature records of large actiniid sea anemones along the Atlantic coast of Canada currently include three Urticina species: U. felina, U. fecunda and U. crassicornis. The findings of the present morphological and molecular study conducted in eastern Newfoundland suggest that U. felina is often misidentified, and that this region may only harbor...
Article
Full-text available
Methods have been proposed to mitigate the environmental footprint of aquaculture, including co-culture of species occupying different trophic levels. In this study, sea cucumbers Cucumaria frondosa, either from production tanks fed with effluent water from land-based salmon culture over 4 yr or collected from the field, were compared using stable...
Article
While the suspension-feeding sea cucumber Cucumaria frondosa is commercially exploited in the North Atlantic and is considered to have potential for integrated aquaculture, the impact of environmental conditions on its behaviour and population structure remains incompletely understood. The present study showed that adults are not photosensitive; th...
Article
Full-text available
The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) is known to prey on slow-moving or sessile organisms. During annual surveys of queen conch (Strombus gigas) in southern Belize, the first direct visual documentation that sea turtles prey on sea cucumbers was obtained, confirming the limited evidence previously obtained from gut content analyses. An indiv...
Article
Sponge larvae are not that fast, but still the fastest - E. M. Montgomery, J.-F. Hamel, A. Mercier
Article
Larval nutritional mode and swimming behaviour in ciliated marine larvae – CORRIGENDUM - E. M. Montgomery, J.-F. Hamel, A. Mercier
Article
Orange-footed Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa; Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) is a dark-brown species that is broadly distributed in North Atlantic and Arctic waters. Here, we document the rare occurrence of colour morphs showing various degrees of albinism, from totally white to faint orange pigmentation. These unusually coloured individuals were...
Article
Velvet shell, Velutina velutina (Müller, 1776), is a specialist predator of ascidians, like other members of the gastropod family Velutinidae. Globally, invasive ascidians have become problematic, ecologically and economically, yet ecological knowledge of velutinids remains limited. This study outlines the life history and feeding ecology of V. vel...
Article
Full-text available
Biochemical markers developed initially for food-web studies of terrestrial and shallow-water environments have only recently been applied to deep-sea ecosystems (i.e., in the early 2000s). For the first time since their implementation, this review took a close look at the existing literature in the field of deep-sea trophic ecology to synthesize c...
Article
While age is fundamental in animal biology, forming the basis of critical concepts such as life-history strategies, longevity and population structures, measuring this variable in some taxa remains problematic. Such is the case of holothuroid echinoderms, which play key roles in marine benthic communities from the shore to the abyss, and which are...
Article
Background: Electromagnetic pulses that precede earthquakes, and the ensuing crust deformations and vibrations, have been associated with unusual animal behavior (UAB), most commonly in terrestrial species but also in certain marine species, chiefly in the Chordata phylum (e.g. fish, cetaceans). Goals: This study explored the occurrence of earthqu...
Article
Full-text available
Fatty acids in neutral and polar lipids were used to investigate trophic connections in species from five families of demersal (Rajella fyllae, Malacoraja senta, Alepocephalus bairdii, Borostomias antarcticus) and pelagic fish (Bathytroctes macrolepis, Lampanyctus spp., Chaulidos sloani, Serrivomer beanii) sampled in the deep Atlantic Ocean off New...
Poster
Full-text available
Poster describing M.Sc work on the foraging and feeding behaviours of four deep-sea invertebrate species from the Northwest Atlantic ocean.
Article
Full-text available
Biochemical markers developed initially for food-web studies of terrestrial and shallow-water environments have only recently been applied to deep-sea ecosystems (i.e. in the early 2000s). For the first time since their implementation, this review took a close look at the existing literature in the field of deep-sea trophic ecology to synthesize cu...
Article
The environmental control of reproductive processes is central to both fundamental and applied aspects of animal ecology. The present study experimentally assessed how environmental factors modulate gametogenesis and spawning and impact embryo development and survival in the holothuroid Cucumaria frondosa, a cold-water echinoderm with lecithotrophi...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Foreword This series documents the scientific basis for the evaluation of aquatic resources and ecosystems in Canada. As such, it addresses the issues of the day in the time frames required and the documents it contains are not intended as definitive statements on the subjects addressed but rather as progress reports on ongoing investigations.
Article
The present study investigated methods to trigger spawning and artificially induce oocyte maturation in the commercial cold-water suspension-feeding sea cucumber Cucumaria frondosa. Spawning occurred after exposure to live phytoplankton, commercial phytoplankton paste, and conspecific sperm. Live phytoplankton at 1 x 105 cells ml-1 induced the high...
Article
Swimming propagules (embryos and larvae) are a critical component of the life histories of benthic marine animals. Larvae that feed (planktotrophic) have been assumed to swim faster, disperse farther and have more complex behavioural patterns than non-feeding (lecithotrophic) larvae. However, a number of recent studies challenge these early assumpt...
Article
Full-text available
Lipids are key compounds in marine ecosystems being involved in organism growth, reproduction , and survival. Despite their biological significance and ease of measurement, the use of lipids in deep-sea studies is limited, as is our understanding of energy and nutrient flows in the deep ocean. Here, a comprehensive analysis of total lipid content,...
Data
Lipid class composition across the deep-sea taxa analyzed. Mean proportion % ±sd of phospholipids (PL), free fatty acids (FFA), sterols (ST), triacylglycerols (TAG), wax esters/steryl esters (WE/SE), as well as triacyglycerols to sterols (TAG:ST) and phospholipids to sterols (PL:ST) ratios are reported for each species analyzed in this study. (DOCX...
Data
FA composition across the deep-sea taxa analyzed. Mean value % ±sd of the sum of saturated FA (∑Sat), monounsaturated FA (∑MUFA), polyunsaturated FA (∑PUFA), n-3 FA (∑n-3), n-6 FA (∑n-6), and the sum of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acids (DHA+EPA) are reported for each species studied. Material and method reports the list of the fatty...
Data
Individual fatty acids (%) measured for all the individuals analyzed. (XLSX)
Data
Proportions of the remaining lipid classes across phyla. Mean proportion % ±se of hydrocarbons (HC), ethyl ethers (EE), methyl esters (ME), ethyl ketones (EK), methyl ketones (MK), glyceryl ethers (GE), alcohols (ALC), diacylglycerols (DAG), and acetone-mobile polar lipids (AMPL) are reported from the phylum containing the highest amounts of lipids...
Article
Full-text available
This study presents new records for 4 eulimid species (Gastropoda, Eulimidae) including Melanella eburnea (Megerle von Mühlfeld, 1824), Melanella hypsela (Verrill & Bush, 1900), Melanella sp., and Eulimostraca encalada Espinosa, Ortea & Magaña, 2006 found on the body wall of the sea cucumber Holothuria mexicana in Belize. Three of these records (M....
Data
Supplementary data (Influence of flow on locomotion, feeding behaviour and spatial distribution of a suspension-feeding sea cucumber)
Article
Full-text available
The population and reproductive biology of the commercial sea cucumber Holothuria mexicana (Ludwig, 1875) was studied in Southern Belize (Caribbean Sea), including the sex ratio, size at sexual maturity and reproductive cycle, as well as the size structure among habitats located inside and outside protected areas. Individuals found inside marine pr...
Article
As deep-sea benthic ecosystems of continental margins provide numerous functions and services to humans, a better understanding of these key habitats and their communities is needed to help predict climate-driven shifts and support conservation efforts. Here stable isotope (δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N), elemental (%C, %N, and molar C:N), and fatty acid (FA) comp...
Article
While movement in response to environmental conditions represents a fundamental link between animal behaviour and population ecology, it is rarely investigated in suspension feeders because they are generally perceived as sessile. Here, the interplay between water flow and fine locomotor and feeding behaviours was experimentally investigated for th...
Article
Full-text available
Although hydrostatic pressure is one of the most prominent abiotic drivers of faunal bathymetric ranges, it is one of the least understood. To better understand hyperbaric constraints on depth distributions, we explored responses to high pressure of adult echinoderms from eastern Canada. The sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, the sea sta...
Poster
We tested: i) Whether there were any clear isotopic groupings among the deep-sea fish species sampled in the Northwest Atlantic, as an indication of their trophic position and diet; ii) whether depth was a driver of isotopic signatures and diets of the species; iii) whether there were any clear associations between feeding habitat (i.e. pelagic vs...
Article
Sexual dimorphism has been reported in all extant echinoderm classes except crinoids, but has never been examined from a phylogenetic, biogeographical, or life-history perspective. This review provides a literature survey of sexual dimorphism in holothuroids and uses this dataset to analyze putative drivers. Sexually dimorphic genital papillae were...
Article
While sea cucumbers have been fished in Belizean waters for ∼20 years for trade through Guatemala and the local Asian market in Belize, harvesting for export to international markets only started with the establishment of the sea cucumber fishery regulations in 2009. The fishery included two main species, Holothuria mexicana and Isostichopus badion...
Chapter
The importance of larval dispersal in the deep ocean is generally acknowledged in studies of genetic connectivity, conservation, and population ecology, but our understanding of the underlying reproductive, developmental, and oceanographic processes remains rudimentary. Recent efforts at modeling deep-sea dispersal have generally taken the form of...
Article
In spite of increasing naval activities and petroleum exploration in cold environments, there is currently a paucity of tools available to monitor oil contamination in boreal marine life, especially in sedentary (non-fish) species that dominate benthic communities. This research aimed to identify biotic sources of variation in biomarkers using suba...
Article
Abstract Swimming behaviours and sensory abilities of early pelagic stages play a prominent role in the life history and ecology of sessile/sedentary benthic species, with implications for settlement, recruitment and dispersal. Light is a particularly important driver of navigational behaviour in the ocean, as a signal of key habitat characteristic...