Center for Marine Science

About Us :: People

dr. wendy strangman

Catharina Alves-de-Souza, Research Professor & Director of the Algal Resources Collection

PhD in Ecology, Université Pierre et Marrie Curie (France) and Universidad Austral de Chile (Chile), 2011
MS in Botany (Phycology), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), 2002
BS in Biology, Universidade Iguaçu (Brazil), 1999

Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin K. Moss Ln, Wilmington, NC 28409
(910) 962-2409

My research is centered on the taxonomy and ecology of marine and freshwater microalgae with a special focus on the biotic control of the harmful algal blooms by unicellular eukaryote parasites. I have extensive interest in phytoplankton diversity and ecology, with broad experience in diverse microalgal groups including cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates, diatoms, and phytonanoflagellates, and in working in very diverse environments. My research approach is based on both observational and experimental data that are integrated through innovative statistical and modeling tools to identify the main drivers affecting population dynamics within plankton microbial communities.

I am interested in three primary aspects:

  1. Characterization of microalgal diversity and how phytoplankton species structure is mediated by the interplay between environmental and biotic drivers
  2. Identification of the primary natural enemies (e.g., predators, parasites) modulating the population dynamics of the predominant phytoplankton species
  3. Assessment of how interspecific interactions such as parasite-host and predator-prey dynamics are affected by other co-occurring biotic interactions (e.g., competition, allelopathy)

As the ecological assessment of biotic communities depends on the precise delimitation of species forming the different populations, I prioritize the proper taxonomic identification of the species based on traditional (morphology) and molecular methods of both wild and cultured populations. This makes possible not only the accurate determination of the population oscillations of plankton species for which quantitative data is scarce due to the inherent difficulty in their identification but also the quantification of all parasitic life-stages in environmental samples (which is critical when determining in situ parasitic-host dynamics). At the same time, I dedicate a considerable effort to culturing microalgae and their predators/parasites, which allows a better characterization of the species and the performance of experiments aiming to determine the numerical-functional responses of predators and parasites.


Alves-de-Souza, C., Mardones, J., Yñiguez, A.T., Le Bihan, V., Guillotreau, P., Gatti, C., Richlen, M.L., Larsen, J., Berdalet, E. (2022) Harmful Algae. In Urban, E.R. Jr., Ittekkot, V. (Eds), Blue Economy: An Ocean Science Perspective. Springer Nature (In Press).

Schmitt, M., Telusma, A., Bigeard, E., Guillou, L., Alves-de-Souza, C. (2022) Temperature affects the biological control of dinoflagellates by the generalist parasitoid Parvilucifera rostrata. Microorganisms 10: 385;

Moser, G.A.O., Barrera-Alba, J.J., Ortega, M.J., Alves-de-Souza, C., Bartual, A. (2022). Comparative characterization of three Tetraselmis chui (Chlorophyta) strains as sources of nutraceuticals. Journal of Applied Phycology;

Mardones, J.I., Krock, B., Marcus, L., Alves-de-Souza, C., Nagai, S., Yarimizu, K., Clément, A., Correa, N., Silva, S., Paredes-Mella, J., von Dassow, P. (2022). From molecules to ecosystem functioning: insight into new approaches to taxonomy to monitor harmful algae diversity in Chile. In Clementson, L.A., Eriksen, R.S., Willis, A., (Eds.), Advances in Phytoplankton Ecology, Elsevier, pp. 119-154;

Vandergrift S.L., Elkins L.C., Alves‐de‐Souza C., Leblond J.D. (2021) First examination of sterols in the marine dinoflagellate genus Vulcanodinium. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 17: e12863;

Farhat, S., Le, P., Kayal. E., Noel, B., Bigeard, E., Corre, E., Maumus, F., Florent, I., Alberti, A., Aury, J.M., Barbeyron, T., Cai, R., Da Silva, C., Istace, B., Labadie, K., Marie, D., Mercier, J., Rukwavu, T., Szymczak, J., Tonon, T., Alves-de-Souza, C., Rouzé, P., Van de Peer, I., Wincker, P., Rombauts, S., Porcel, B.M., Guillou, L. (2021) Rapid protein evolution, organellar reductions, and invasive intronic elements in the marine aerobic parasite dinoflagellate Amoebophrya spp. BMC Biology 19: 1;

Díaz-Rosas, F., Alves-de-Souza, C., Alarcón, E., Menschel, E., González, H. E., Torres, R., von Dassow, P. (2021). Abundances and morphotypes of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in southern Patagonia compared to neighbouring oceans and Northern Hemisphere fjords. Biogeosciences 18: 5465-5489;

Kayal, E., Alves-de-Souza, C., Farhat, S., Velo-Suarez, L., Monjol, J., Szymczak, J., Bigeard, E., Marie, D., Noel, B., Porcel, B.N., Corre, E., Six, C., Guillou, L. (2020) Dinoflagellate host chloroplasts and mitochondria remain functional during Amoebophrya infection. Frontiers in Microbiology 11: 600823;

Cai, R., Kayal, E., Alves-de-Souza, C., Bigeard, E., Corre, E., Jeanthon, C., Marie, D., Porcel, B.M., Siano, R., Szymczak, J., Wolf, M., Guillou, L. (2020) Cryptic species in the parasitic Amoebophrya species complex revealed by a polyphasic approach. Scientific Reports 10: 2531;

Branco, S., Almeida, L., Alves-de-Souza, C., Mair, O., Proença, L., Menezes, M. (2019) Morphological and genetic characterization of bloom-forming Raphidophyceae from Brazilian coast. Phycological Research 67: 279-290;

Alves-de-Souza, C., Benevides, T., Menezes, M., Jeanthon, C., Guillou, L. (2019a) First report of vampyrellid predator-prey dynamics in a marine system. The ISME Journal 13: 1110-1113;

Alves-de-Souza, C., Iriarte, J., Mardones, J. (2019b). Interannual variability of Dinophysis acuminata and Protoceratium reticulatum in a Chilean fjord: Insights from the realized niche analysis. Toxins 11: 19;

Mardones, J.I., Fuenzalida, G., Zenteno, C., Alves-de-Souza, C., Astuya, A., Dorantes-Aranda, J.J. (2019) Salinity-growth response and ichthyotoxic potency of the Chilean Pseudochattonella verruculosa. Frontiers in Marine Sciences 6:24.

Binzer, S.B., Svenssen, D.K., Daugbjerg, N., Alves-de-Souza, C., Pinto, E., Hansen, P.J., Larsen, T.O, Varga, E. (2019). A-, B- and C-type prymnesins are clade specific compounds and chemotaxonomic markers in Prymnesium parvum. Harmful Algae 81: 10-17;

Fribley, A., Xi, Y., Makris, C., Alves-de-Souza, C., York, R., Tomas, C., Wright, J., Strangman, W. (2019) Identification of portimine B, a novel cell permeable spiroimine that induces apoptosis in oral squamous cell carcinoma. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters 10: 175-179;

Menezes, M., Branco, S., Miotto, N.C., Alves-de-Souza, C. (2018) The genus Alexandrium (Dinophyceae, Dinophyta) in Brazilian coastal waters. Frontiers in Marine Sciences 5: 421;

Diaz, J.M., Plummer, S., Tomas, C., Alves-de-Souza, C. (2018) Extracellular production of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide by harmful algae. Journal of Plankton Research 40: 667-677;

Alves-de-Souza, C., Benevides, T.S., Santos, J.B.O., von Dassow, P., Guillou, L., Menezes, M. (2017) Does environmental heterogeneity explain temporal β diversity of small eukaryotic phytoplankton? Example from a tropical eutrophic coastal lagoon. Journal of Plankton Research 39: 698-714;

Karafas, S., Teng, S. T., Leaw, C. P., Alves-de-Souza, C. (2017). An evaluation of the genus Amphidinium (Dinophyceae) combining evidence from morphology, phylogenetics, and toxin production, with the introduction of six novel species. Harmful Algae 68: 128-151;

Fouilland, E., Trottet, A., Alves-de-Souza, C., Bonnet, D., Bouvier, T., Bouvy, M., Boyer, S., Guillou, L., Hatey, E., Jing, H., Leboulanger, C., Le Floc’h, E., Liu, H., Mas, S., Mostajir, B., Nouguier, J., Pecqueur, D., Rochelle-Newall, E., Roques, C., Salles, C., Tournoud, M.G., Vasseur, C., Vidussi, F. (2017). Significant change in marine plankton structure and carbon production after the addition of river water in a mesocosm experiment. Microbial Ecology 74: 289-301; (

Nascimento, S.M., Mendes, M.C.Q., Menezes, M., Rodríguez, F., Alves-de-Souza, C., Branco, S., Riobó, P., Franco, J., Nunes, J.M.C., Hukg, M., Morris, S., Fraga, S. (2017) Morphology and phylogeny of Prorocentrum caipirignum sp. nov. (Dinophyceae), a new tropical toxic benthic dinoflagellate. Harmful Algae 70: 73-89;

Blanquart, F., Valero, M., Alves-de-Souza, C., Dia, A., Lepelletier, F., Bigeard, E., Jeanthon, C., Destombe, C., Guillou, L. (2016) Evidence for parasite-mediated selection during short-lasting toxic algal blooms. Proceedings of Royal Society B 283: 20161870;

Jephcott, T.G., Alves-de-Souza, C., Gleason, F.H., Van Ogtrop, F.F., Sime-Ngando, T., Karpov, S.A., Guillou, L (2016) Ecological impacts of parasitic chytrids, syndiniales and perkinsids on populations of marine photosynthetic dinoflagellates. Fungal Ecology 19: 47-58;

Alves-de-Souza, C., Pecqueur, D., Floc’h, E.L., Mas, S., Roques, C., Mostajir, B., Vidussi, F., Velo-Suárez, L., Sourisseau, M., Fouilland, E., Guillou, L. (2015) Significance of plankton community structure and nutrient availability for the control of dinoflagellate blooms by parasites: a modeling approach. PLOs ONE 10(6): e0127623;

Branco, S., Menezes, M., Alves-de-Souza, C., Domingos, P., Schramm, M.A., Proença, L.A.O. (2014) Recurrent blooms of Heterosigma akashiwo (Raphidophyceae) in Piraquê Channel, Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Southeast Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology 74: 529-537;

Alves-de-Souza, C., Varela, D., Contreras, C., Iglesia, P.I., Fernández, P., Hipp, B., Hernández, C., Riobó, P., Reguera, B., Franco, J.M., Diogène, J., García, C., Lagos, N. (2014) Seasonal variability of Dinophysis spp. and Protoceratium reticulatum associated to lipophilic shellfish toxins in a strongly stratified Chilean fjord. Deep-Sea Research II 101: 152-162;

Leles, S.G., Souza, C.A., Faria, C.O., Ramos, A.B., Fernandes, A.M., Moser, G.A. (2014) Short-term phytoplankton dynamics in response to tidal stirring in a tropical estuary (Southeastern Brazil). Brazilian Journal of Oceanography 62: 341-349;

Menezes, M., Branco, S., Guimarães, R.R., Sousa, V.L.M., Alves-De-Souza, C., Silva, W.J., Domingos, P., Gômara, G. (2012) Floristic composition of cyanobacteria and microalgae in Piraquê Channel, Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Southeastern Brazil. Oecologia Australis 16: 421-440; (In Portuguese)

Alves-de-Souza, C., Varela, D., Iriarte, J.L., González, H.E., Guillou, L. (2012) Infection dynamics of Amoebophryidae parasitoids on harmful dinoflagellates in a southern Chilean fjord dominated by diatoms. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 66: 183-197;

Varela, D., Paredes, J., Alves-de-Souza, C., Seguel, M., Sfeir, A., Frangópulos, M. (2012). Intraregional variation among Alexandrium catenella (Dinophyceae) strains from southern Chile: morphological, toxicological and genetic diversity. Harmful Algae 15: 8-18;

Chambouvet, A., Alves-de-Souza, C., Cueff, V., Marie, D., Karpov, S., Guillou, L. (2011) Interplay between the parasite Amoebophrya sp. (Alveolata) and the cyst formation of the red tide dinoflagellate Scrippsiella trochoidea. Protist 162: 637-649;

Alves-de-Souza, C., Cornet, C., Nowaczyk, A., Gasparini, S., Skovgaard, A., Guillou, L. (2011) Blastodinium spp. infect copepods in the ultra-oligotrophic marine waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Biogeosciences 8: 2125-2136;

Siano, R., Alves-de-Souza, C., Foulon, E., Bendif, E. M., Simon, N., Guillou, L., Not, F. (2011) Distribution and host diversity of Amoebophryidae parasites across oligotrophic waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Biogeosciences 8: 267-278;

Alves-de-Souza, C., Varela, D., Navarrete, F., Fernandez, P., Leal, P. (2008a) Distribution, abundance and diversity of modern dinoflagellate cyst assemblages from Southern Chile (43-54° S). Botanica Marina 51: 399-410;

Alves-de-Souza, C., González, M.T., Iriarte, J.L. (2008b) Functional groups in marine phytoplankton assemblages dominated by diatoms in fjords of southern Chile. Journal of Plankton Research 30: 1233-1243;