Associate lecturer (ATER: Teaching and Research Temporary Attaché)


Main Scientific interests

I am a benthic ecologist with a broad interest in the effect of parasites in marine ecosystem functioning. Despite their small size and hidden nature, parasites are widespread in the wild where they have wide-ranging roles, from interfering with the physiological state of their host to their influence as ecosystem engineer species. Indeed, parasites can infect engineer species and modify the phenotypic traits of their host involved in their functional role. In this way, the direct effects exerted by parasites on individual host could have knock-on effects on ecosystem functioning.

My work focuses on parasites infecting bioturbating species (mainly crustaceans and bivalves) in soft-bottom environments. I use field surveys to characterize parasite-bioturbator interactions. I also undertake lab experiments to assess the effects of parasitism on the physiology and behavior of bioturbating species and evaluate consequences for ecosystem functioning.

Finally, and considering that wild organisms naturally experience a wide variety of biotic and abiotic stressors that have interactive effects on their health, I usually contextualize my studies taking into account other stress factors that could interfere with the effects of parasites on their bioturbating hosts.


  • January 2021 - April 2021: Postdoctoral researcher - Caen University, France – UMR 8067 BOREA

Postdoc topic: Influence of biotic interactions on sediment microtopography and impact on sediment stability - COCKLES project funded by the Interreg Atlantic Area

Promotor: Dr. Francis ORVAIN

  • January 2020 - January 2021: Postdoctoral researcher - Ghent University, Belgium – Marine Biology Research Group

Postdoc topic: Influence of climate change on communities of microbial organisms associated to fouling fauna in offshore wind farms – PERSUADE project funded by the Belgian Federal North Sea Research Programme

Promotor: Prof. Tom MOENS

  • February 2019 - January 2020: Postdoctoral researcher - Caen University, France – FRE 7208 BOREA

Postdoc topic: Influence of the bioturbation of the common cockle Cerastoderma edule on sediment stability and interference of parasitism - COCKLES project funded by the Interreg Atlantic Area

Promotor: Dr. Francis ORVAIN

  • October 2015 - December 2018: PhD candidate - Bordeaux University, France – UMR 5805 EPOC

PhD thesis: Sensitivity of the bioturbating species Upogebia cf. pusilla in a multi-stressed littoral environment: parasitic infestations and metal contaminations

Supervisors: Prof. Xavier de MONTAUDOUIN and Dr. Alexia LEGEAY



(10) Dairain A., Maire O., Meynard G., Richard A., Rodolfo-Damiano T. and Orvain F. Sediment stability: can we disentangle the effect of bioturbating species on sediment erodibility from their impact on sediment roughness? Marine Environmental Research 162.

(9) Dairain A., Maire O., Meynard G.. and Orvain F. Does parasitism influence sediment stability? Evaluation of trait-mediated effects of the trematode Bucephalus minimus on the key role of cockles Cerastoderma edule in sediment erosion dynamics. Science of the Total Environment 773, 1-14.

(8) Dairain A., Engelsma M.Y., Drent J., Dekker R. and Thieltges D.W. High prevalences of disseminated neoplasia in the Baltic tellin Limecola balthica in the Wadden Sea. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 138, 89-96 .

(7) Dairain A., Legeay A., Gonzalez P., Baudrimont M., Gourves P.-Y. and de Montaudouin X. Seasonal influence of parasitism on contamination patterns of the mud shrimp Upogebia cf. pusilla in an area of low pollution. Science of the Total Environment 692, 319-332.

(6) Dairain A., Legeay A. and de Montaudouin X. Influence of parasitism on bioturbation: from host to ecosystem functioning. Marine Ecology Progress Series 619, 201-214.

(5) Dairain A., Legeay A., Gernigon V. and de Montaudouin X. How does the bopyrid parasite Gyge branchialis interfere with trace metal bioaccumulation in the mud shrimp Upogebia cf. pusilla?

Parasitology Research 118, 363–367.

(4) Dairain A., de Montaudouin X., Gonzalez P., Ciutat A., Baudrimont M., Maire O. and Legeay A. Do trace metal contamination and parasitism influence the bioturbation activity of the mud shrimp Upogebia cf. pusilla? Aquatic Toxicology 204, 46-58.

(3) Dairain A., de Montaudouin X., Gonzalez P., Ciutat A., Baudrimont M., Maire O., Gourves P.Y., Daffe G., and Legay A. Influence of the bioturbator Upogebia cf. pusilla on trace metal remobilization: does parasitism matter? Marine Environmental Research 139, 87-98.

(2) Dairain A., Gonzalez P., Legeay A., Maire O., Daffe G., Pascal P. and de Montaudouin X. (2017). Parasite interactions in the thalassinid bioturbator Upogebia pusilla: a case of amensalism? Marine Biology, 164-203.

(1) Magalhães L., Freitas R., Dairain A., and de Montaudouin X. (2017). Can host density attenuate parasitism? Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 97(3), 497-505.