Dr. Manuel Bringué

Image Manuel Bringué
Research Scientist (Biostratigrapher)

I am a research scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada – Calgary (Natural Resources Canada), using primarily dinoflagellate cysts and geochemical data as tools to reconstruct past environments and solve geological puzzles.

I was trained as an oceanographer studying living dinoflagellates in the modern coastal ocean, as well as their fossilized cysts in Quaternary sediments. My main research interests are paleoceanography, biostratigraphy, environmental change and phytoplankton ecology, and include elements of biology, marine geology, micropaleontology and environmental science.

Research and/or project statements

Dinoflagellates are a very diverse and abundant group of aquatic protists that occupy a key position in marine and estuarine food webs. Many dinoflagellates produce resting cysts as a dormancy stage, which are well preserved in the sediment over geologic times. Since the distribution of cysts on the seafloor is controlled by the ecology of the dinoflagellates that produce them, cyst assemblages can be used to reconstruct past sea-surface conditions – temperature, salinity, primary productivity and sea-ice cover.

  1. My first major axis of research is dinoflagellate ecology. My aim is to better understand phyto- and microzooplankton dynamics and allow for more detailed paleo-reconstructions. I use primarily sediment trap time series to tie seasonal occurrences of dinoflagellates with physico-chemical and biological parameters.
  2. Secondly, I use cyst assemblages from sediments deposited over the last few thousand years, together with other indicators (such as geochemical proxies), in order to generate detailed reconstructions of past environmental variability at the highest temporal resolution possible. Documenting late Holocene climatic variability is key to understanding the undergoing changes in the environment, whether they are due to natural variability or human activities.
  3. I am now diving into deep time, using dinoflagellate cysts as a tool to reconstruct the depositional history of major sedimentary basins (biostratigraphy) in the Canadian Arctic.

I am also interested into a wide variety of topics, including primary productivity and the different phytoplankton groups that account for it, carbon cycling, coastal and estuarine dynamics, the evolution of life through time as seen in the fossil record, and science education.

Professional activities / interests

  • Micropaleontology (dinoflagellate cysts)
  • Paleoceanography & paleoclimatology
  • Field work (land- and sea-based)
  • Member of the Executive for the Canadian Association of Palynologists
  • Reviewer for several scientific journals
  • Science teaching & communication

Education and awards


  • Ph.D. Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, 2015
  • M.Sc. Oceanography, Institut des Sciences de la Mer, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 2009
  • B.Sc. Biology & Geography, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 2007.

Scholarships and Fellowship:

  • 2015 – 2017   NSERC PDF: Postdoctoral fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • 2013 – 2014   Commander Peter Chance MASC Graduate Fellowship (UVic Faculty of Graduate Studies donor award)
  • 2012 – 2013   Bob Wright Graduate Scholarship (University of Victoria Faculty of Science donor award)
  • 2009 – 2012   FQRNT B2: Doctoral fellowship from the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies
  • 2007 – 2009   NSERC PGS-M: Postgraduate (Master’s) Scholarship from NSERC
  • 2006               NSERC USRA: Undergraduate Student Research Award from NSERC


  • 2016   ASPIRE – I, Track IIB: Research grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research, University of South Carolina
  • 2013   GSA Research Grant: Student research grant from the Geological Society of America


  • 2017   Best postdoctoral oral presentation at DINO11 (Bordeaux, France)
  • 2014   Best PhD poster award at WDGAC 2014 (Victoria, BC)
  • 2013   Best overall poster presentation at the 49th AASP annual meeting, jointly with DINO10, CAP, CIMP & NAMS (San Francisco, USA)
  • 2012   SEOS Graduate Student Workshop presentation award (3rd place for best oral presentation)
  • 2008   FUQAR Involvement award
  • 2007   Louise-Bernier Award (best poster presentation at the GEOTOP annual student meeting)

Travel Grants:

  • 2015   UVic Graduate Student Travel Grant (2nd workshop on taxonomy of Pliocene to modern Spiniferites and Achomosphaera, Ostend, Belgium)
  • 2014   GSA 2014 registration fee waiver from the Canadian Association of Palynologists
  • 2011   UVic Graduate Student Travel Grant (International workshop on Dinoflagellates, Nagasaki, Japan)
  • 2008   NSTP: Northern Scientific Training Program bursary for field fees in the North

Key publications

  • Bringué, M., Pospelova, V., Tappa, E.J. and Thunell, R.C., 2019. Dinoflagellate cyst production in the Cariaco Basin: a 12.5 year-long sediment trap study. Progress in Oceanography 171: 175-211 (10.1016/j.pocean.2018.12.007).
  • Bringué, M., Thunell, R.C., Pospelova, V., Pinckney, J.L., Romero, O. and Tappa, E.J., 2018. Physico-chemical and biological factors influencing dinoflagellate cyst production in the Cariaco Basin. Biogeosciences 15: 1–24 (doi: 10.5194/bg-2017-497).
  • Mertens, K.N., Van Nieuwenhove, N., Gurdebeke, P.R., Aydin, H., Bogus, K., Bringué, M. et al., 2018 Summary of the round table discussions about Spiniferites and Achomosphaera occurring in Pliocene to modern sediments. Palynology 42:10-44 (doi: 10.1080/01916122.2018.1465739).
  • Pospelova, V., Zonneveld, K.A.F., Heikkilä, M., Bringué, M., Price A.M. and Matsuoka, K., 2018. Seasonal, annual, and inter-annual Spiniferites cyst production: a review of sediment trap studies. Palynology 42: 162-181 (doi: 10.1080/01916122.2018.1465738).
  • Bringué, M., Pospelova, V., Calvert, S.E., Enkin, R.J. and Ivanochko, T., 2016. High resolution dinoflagellate cyst record of environmental change in Effingham Inlet (BC, Canada) over the last millennium. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 441: 787–810
    (doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.10.026).
  • Bringué, M., Pospelova, V. and Field, D.B., 2014. High resolution sedimentary record of dinoflagellate cysts reflects decadal variability and 20th century warming in the Santa Barbara Basin. Quaternary Science Reviews 105: 86–101 (doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.09.022).
  • Bringué, M., Pospelova, V. and Pak, D., 2013. Seasonal production of organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts in upwelling systems: a sediment trap study from the Santa Barbara Basin, California. Marine Micropaleontology 100: 34–51 (doi: 10.1016/j.marmicro.2013.03.007).
  • Mertens, K.N., Bringué, M., Van Nieuwenhove, N., Takano, Y., Pospelova, V., Rochon, A., de Vernal, A., Radi, T., Dale, B., Patterson, R.T., Weckström, K., Andrén, E., Louwye, S. and Matsuoka, K., 2012. Process length variation of the cyst of the dinoflagellate Protoceratium reticulatum in the North Pacific and Baltic-Skagerrak region: calibration as annual density proxy and first evidence of pseudo-cryptic speciation. Journal of Quaternary Science 27(7): 734–744. (doi:10.1002/jqs.2564).
  • Bringué, M. and Rochon, A., 2012. Late Holocene paleoceanography and climate variability over the Mackenzie Slope (Beaufort Sea, Canadian Arctic). Marine Geology 291, 83–96 (doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2011.11.004).
  • See also: https://geoscan.nrcan.gc.ca/starweb/geoscan/servlet.starweb?path=geoscan/shorte.web&search1=dpsid=227072


Research facility

3303-33 Street NW
Calgary, AB T2L 2A7



Other languages

Spanish (good knowledge), German (basic knowledge)