Postdoctoral researcher interested in the resilience of octocoral animal forests in the Caribbean

I am a nature lover at heart and a marine ecologist and biologist by profession. I am a postdoctoral researcher at Barcolab, UASA, ICMyL, UNAM. I am interested in coral reef biodiversity, biological conservation, and biogeochemical indicators that show the anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems. I am particularly interested in the processes that are contributing to the resilience of octocoral animal forests in the Caribbean Sea.


Octocorals are showing resilience signs and are increasing in abundance on several Caribbean reefs. There are different processes and biological traits that seem to contribute to octocorals resilience, such as 1) vertical morphological strategy and rapid linear growth, 2) high recruitment, 3) tolerance to increased nutrients, 4) trophic plasticity, among others. Currently, I am focused on evaluating the trophic plasticity of Caribbean zooxanthellate octocorals on reefs under contrasting environmental conditions due to anthropogenic activities.



1) PhD in Marine Sciences by National Polytechnic Institution

2) M. Sc. in Marine Ecology by Havana University

3) B. Sc. in Biology by Havana University


Awards in the last 3 years:

  1. Best Postgraduate Thesis, PhD in Marine Sciences, National Polytechnic Institute 2021.

  2. Lázaro Cárdenas Award within the Polytechnic Merit Distinctions 2021 (PhD level).

  3. Best Academic Performance in the National Polytechnic Institute between 2018-2019.

  4. Best oral presentation, VII Mexican Workshop of Ecology 2019.


Papers in the last 3 years:

  1. Rey-Villiers, N., Sánchez, A., González-Díaz, P. (2021): Respuestas de los octocorales ante la eutrofización de las zonas marino-costeras: revisión y síntesis (pp. 39-66). En: Gómez, L. M. O., Islas, H. F., Ramírez, P. R., Galar, M. M., Sánchez, J. C. M., Guzmán, X. G., Barrera, G. E., Zavala, J. L. A., Gasca, E. P., Dublán, O. G. (Eds.). Contribuciones selectas en ecotoxicología y química ambiental. Primera edición. Editado por la Asociación Mesoamericana de Ecotoxicología y Química Ambiental, A.C. (AMEQA). México. 855 pp. ISBN: 978-607-99510-0-9.

  2. Rey-Villiers, N., Sánchez, A., González-Díaz, P. (2021): Stable nitrogen isotopes in octocorals as an indicator of water quality decline from the northwestern region of Cuba. . 28 (15): 18457-18470. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-09956-x

  3. Rey-Villiers, N., Sánchez, A., Caballero-Aragón, H., González-Díaz, P., 2021. Corrigendum to “Dataset of octocoral assemblages in fore reefs in the northwestern region of Cuba” [Data in Brief 31 (2020) 1-7/DIB-D-20-00391]. Data in Brief. 37, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2021.107259

  4. Alfonso Sánchez, Y., Rey-Villiers, N. y Martínez-Daranas, B. (2020): Macroalgas epizoicas en octocorales en el litoral de La Habana, Cuba. Rev. Invest. Mar., 40 (1), 1-21.

  5. Sánchez, A., Gómez-León, A., Pérez-Tribouillier, H., Rey-Villiers, N., Ortiz-Hernández, Ma. C., Rodríguez-Figueroa, G., Shumilin, E. (2020): Vertical variability of benthic foraminifera and trace elements in a tropical coastal lagoon in the Gulf of California. , 158. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.111417

  6. Rey-Villiers, N., Sánchez, A., Caballero-Aragón, H., González-Díaz, P. (2020): Spatio temporal variation in octocoral assemblages along a water quality gradient in the northwestern region of Cuba. 153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2020.110981

  7. Caballero-Aragón, H., Perera-Valderrama, S., Rey-Villiers, N., González-Méndez, J. y Armenteros, M. (2020): Population status of (Lamarck, 1816) in Cuban coral reefs. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rsma.2019.101029

  8. Caballero, H., Armenteros, M., Perera, S., Rey-Villiers, N., Cobián, D., Campos, K. y Alcolado, P. (2019): Ecological condition of coral reef assemblages in the Cuban Archipelago, , 15 (1): 61-73. DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2019.1577557



I have presented in more 40 workshops. You can see some research in https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nestor-Rey-Villiers



Octocoral animal forests, resilience, octocorals traits, stable isotopes of N and C, coral reefs ecology