Dr Ezequiel "Ziggy" Marzinelli
Adjunct Lecturer
Field of Research: 
Marine ecology, restoration ecology, host-microbiome interactions / microbial ecology, urban ecology
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 8723
Level 4 East
Biological Sciences South (E26)

UNSW, Kensington 2052




Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE), NTU.

See also: UNSW Research Gateway profileGoogle Scholar profile; and Operation Crayweed - Restoring Sydeny's underwater forests

Member of: Centre of Marine Bio-Innovation (CMB)

Research & Current Projects

Research & Current Projects

My research focuses on ecological impacts of environmental stressors and on conservation of marine ecosystems. I integrate theoretical and applied ecology with microbial ecology to understand the mechanisms that cause species’ declines and to restore degraded habitats. I have done research in temperate, tropical and polar ecosystems around the world, and my goal is to provide sensible, practical solutions to environmental problems.

Restoration of underwater forests (Operation crayweed)
Large brown seaweeds (macroalgae) form extensive underwater forests that underpin biodiversity and key ecosystem functions and services on temperate rocky reefs worldwide. These productive forests are, however, declining globally due to multiple human impacts. ‘Crayweed’ (Phyllospora comosa) is an important habitat-forming alga that disappeared from the Sydney coastline in the early 1980’s, possibly due to poor water quality. Despite significant improvements in water quality since the 1990’s, crayweed has not re-established. This project – a.k.a. ‘Operation Crayweed’ – aims to determine the ecological processes and interactions that influence colonisation and survival of crayweed in order to restore crayweed forests and the biodiversity and functions they support.  

Host-microbiome interactions
Microorganisms are ubiquitous in the ocean and play a fundamental role in the life of dominant marine hosts. This project investigates the mechanisms by which microbial communities influence the functioning of seaweed hosts and protect them from environmental stress.

IMOS AUV benthic observing program
This project uses Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), which are part of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), to quantify benthic biodiversity at a continental scale. The aim is to determine the long-term and large-scale effects of Marine Protected Areas and climatic change on benthic biodiversity.


Prof. Torsten Thomas, Dr Adriana Vergés, Prof. Peter Steinberg, A/Prof. Paul Gribben, Dr Alexandra Campbell, Dr Suhelen Egan, Prof. Staffan Kjelleberg (SCELSE, NYU), Dr Melinda Coleman (NSW DPI), Dr Renata Ferrari (USYD), Dr Brendan Kelaher (SCU), Prof. Sanjay Swarup (SCELSE, NUS), Prof. Thomas Wernberg (UWA), Prof. Stefan Williams (USYD). 

Research Students


  • Georgina Wood (PhD candidate) Genetic diversity and ecological restoration of underwater forests (jointly supervised with Dr A. Vergés; co-supervised by Prof. M. Coleman)
  • Shannen Smith (PhD candidate) The role of biotic interactions in understanding the future of tropicalised communities (jointly supervised with Dr A. Vergés)
  • Lana Kajlich (PhD candidate) Engaging the community in ecological restoration projects (co-supervised with Dr A. Vergés, Prof. P. Steinberg and Dr A. Campbell)
  • Zhiguang Qiu (PhD 2017, UNSW) Functional responses of kelp and its microbiome to environmental stress (jointly supervised with Prof. P. Steinberg and Dr A. Campbell)
  • Ana Bugnot (PhD 2014, University of Sydney) The ecological interactions between native fauna and the invasive isopod Cirolana harfordi (co-supervised with A/Prof. R.A. Coleman and A/Prof. W. Figuera)


  • Joanne Young (Honours candidate) Microbiome effects on the resilience of habitat-forming hosts (jointly supervised with Dr S. Egan)
  • Lynn Le (Honours candidate) The influence of traits of a dominant habitat-former on biodiversity across environmental gradients (co-supervised with A/Prof. P. Gribben and A/Prof. A. Poore)
  • Adam Camilleri (BSc Honours 2017) The impacts of sea urchins and structural complexity on the restoration of crayweed (jointly supervised with Dr A. Vergés)
  • Nigel Coombes (BSc Honours 2016) The influence of herbivores on the restoration of habitat-forming crayweed and associated epifaunal communities (jointly supervised with Dr A. Vergés)
  • Mathew Skye (BSc Honours 2014) A decade of decline of the kelp Ecklonia radiata in the Solitary Island Marine Park (co-supervised with Dr A. Vergés, Dr A. Campbell and Dr H. Malcom)
  • Martin Leong (BSc Honours 2013) Marine invertebrate communities and the restoration of missing underwater forests in Sydney (co-supervised with Dr A. Vergés and Dr A. Campbell)

MSCI0501 The Marine Environment (Coordinator and Lecturer)

MSCI6681 Topics in Australian Marine Science (Lecturer)

BIOS3091 Marine and Aquatic Ecology (Lecturer)

MSCI2001 Introductory Marine Science (Lecturer)

BIOS6692 Advanced Underwater Field Ecology (Lecturer)

I also run shot courses on Experimental Design and Data Analysis for postgraduate students, EMCR and Academics, and lecture for the CMB Summer Course and the SCELSE Summer Course (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore).


Scholarly book chapters

  1. Bigatti G, Marzinelli EM, Cledón M & Penchaszadeh PE (2004) Gonadic cycle of Pseudechinus magellanicus (Philippi, 1857) (Echinoidea: Temnopleuridae) from Patagonia, Argentina. In: Heinzeller T & Nebelsick J (eds) Echinoderms: München. Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK, p. 11-14

 Refereed journal articles [* = joint first author; underlined author = Postgraduate student]

  1. Brzozowska AM, Maassen S, Goh Zhi Rong R, Benke P, Lim CS, Marzinelli EM, Jańczewski D, Teo S & Vancso GJ (2017) Effects of variations in micro-patterns and surface modulus on marine fouling of engineering polymers. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
  2. Turney C, Fogwill C, Palmer J, van Sebille E, Thomas Z, McGlone M, Richardson S, Wilmshurst J, Fenwick P, Zunz V, Goose H, Wilson KJ, Carter L, Lipson M, Jones R, Harsch M, Clark G, Marzinelli EM, Rogers T, Rainsley E, Ciasto L, Waterman S, Thomas E & Visbeck M (2017) Tropical forcing of increased Southern Ocean climate variability revealed by a 140-year subantarctic temperature reconstruction. Climate of the Past 13:231-248
  3. Vergés A, Doropoulos C, Malcolm HA, Skye M, Garcia-Pizá M, Marzinelli EM, Campbell AH, Ballesteros E, Hoey AS, Vila-Concejo A, Bozec YM & Steinberg PD (2016) Long-term empirical evidence of ocean warming leading to tropicalization of fish communities, increased herbivory and loss of kelp. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113:13791-13796
  4. Guest JR, Tun K, Low J, Vergés A, Marzinelli EM, Campbell AH, Bauman AG, Feary DA, Chou LM & Steinberg PD (2016) 27 years of benthic and coral community dynamics on turbid, highly urbanised reefs off Singapore Scientific Reports 6:36260
  5. Fogwill CG, van Sebille E, Cougnon EA, Turney CSM, Rintoul SR, Clark GF, Marzinelli EM, Rainsley EB & Carter L. (2016) Impacts of a developing polynya off Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica, triggered by grounding of iceberg B09B. The Cryosphere 10:2603-2609
    1. Bugnot AB, Coleman RA, Figueira WF & Marzinelli EM (2016) Effects of the receiving assemblage and disturbance on the colonisation of an invasive species. Marine Biology 163:155
    2. Marzinelli EM, Leong MR, Campbell AH, Steinberg PD & Vergés A (2016) Does restoration of a habitat-forming seaweed restore associated faunal diversity? Restoration Ecology 24:81-90
    3. Basford AJ, Feary DA, Truong G, Steinberg PD, Marzinelli EM & Vergés A (2016) Feeding habits of range-shifting herbivores: tropical surgeonfishes in a temperate environment. Marine and Freshwater Research 67:75-83
    4. Marzinelli EM, Campbell AH, Zozaya Valdes E, Vergés A, Nielsen S, Wernberg T, de Bettignes T, Bennett S, Caporaso JG, Thomas T & Steinberg PD (2015) Continental-scale variation in seaweed host-associated bacterial communities is a function of host condition, not geography. Environmental Microbiology 17:4078-4088
    5. Marzinelli EM, Williams SB, Babcock RC, Barrett NS, Johnson CR, Jordan A, Kendrick GA, Pizarro OR, Smale DA & Steinberg PD (2015) Large-scale geographic variation in distribution and abundance of Australian deep-water kelp forests. PLOS ONE 10:e0118390
    6. * Campbell AH, Marzinelli EM, Gelber J & Steinberg PD (2015) Spatial variability of microbial assemblages associated with a dominant habitat-forming seaweed. Frontiers in Microbiology 6:230
    7. Bugnot AB, Coleman RA, Figueira WF & Marzinelli EM (2015) Community-level impacts of the invasive isopod Cirolana harfordi. Biological Invasions 17:1149-1161
    8. Mayer-Pinto M, Underwood AJ & Marzinelli EM (2015) The matrix influences direct and indirect effects of an anthropogenic disturbance on marine organisms. Environmental Research 136:15-20
    9. Saxena G, Marzinelli EM, Naing NN, He Z, Liang Y, Tom L, Mitra S, Ping H, Joshi UM, Reuben S, Mynampati KC, Mishra S, Umashankar S, Zhou J, Andersen GL, Kjelleberg S & Swarup S (2015) Ecogenomics reveals metals and land-use pressures on microbial communities in the waterways of a megacity. Environmental Science & Technology 49:1462-1471
    10. Clark GF, Marzinelli EM, Fogwill C, Turney C & Johnston EL (2015) Effects of sea-ice cover on marine benthic communities: a natural experiment in Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica. Polar Biology 38:1213-1222
    11. Mayer-Pinto M, Johnston EL, Hutchings PA, Marzinelli EM, Ahyong S, Birch GF, Booth DJ, Creese RG, Doblin MA, Figueira WF, Gribben PE, Pritchard TR, Roughan M, Steinberg PD & Hedge LH (2015) Sydney Harbour: A review of anthropogenic impacts on the biodiversity and ecosystem function of the world’s largest urbanised esturay. Marine and Freshwater Research 66: 1088-1105
    12. Johnston EL, Mayer-Pinto M, Hutchings P, Marzinelli EM, Ahyong S, Birch GF, Booth DJ, Creese RG, Doblin MA, Figueira WF, Gribben PE, Pritchard TR, Roughan M, Steinberg PD & Hedge LH (2015) Sydney Harbour: What we do and don’t know about a mega-diverse estuary. Marine and Freshwater Research 66: 1073-1087
    13. Bewley M, Friedman A, Ferrari R, Marzinelli EM, Hill N, Hovey R, Barrett N, Pizarro O, Figueira W, Meyer L, Babcock R, Bellchambers L, Byrne M & Williams S (2015) Australian seafloor survey data, with images and expert annotations. Scientific data 2:150057
    14. Wahl M, Molis M, Hobday AJ, Dudgeon S, Neumann R, Steinberg PD, Campbell AH, Marzinelli EM & Connell SD (2015) The responses of brown macroalgae to environmental change from local to global scales: direct versus ecologically mediated effects. Perspectives in Phycology 2:11-30
    15. Clark GF, Kelaher BP, Dafforn KA, Coleman MA, Knott NA, Marzinelli EM & Johnston EL (2015) What does impacted look like? High diversity and abundance of epibiota in modified estuaries. Environmental Pollution 196:12-20
    16. Bravo G, Márquez F, Marzinelli EM, Mendez MM & Bigatti G (2015) Effect of recreational diving on Patagonian rocky reefs. Marine Environmental Research 104:31-36
    17. Marzinelli EM, Campbell AH, Vergés A, Coleman MA, Kelaher BP & Steinberg PD (2014) Restoring seaweeds: does the declining fucoid Phyllospora comosa support different biodiversity than other habitats? Journal of Applied Phycology 26:1089-1096
    18. * Campbell AH, Marzinelli EM, Vergés A, Coleman MA & Steinberg PD (2014) Towards restoration of missing underwater forests. PLOS ONE 9:e84106
    19. Bugnot AB, Coleman RA, Figueira WF & Marzinelli EM (2014) Patterns of the non-indigenous isopod Cirolana harfordi in Sydney Harbour. PLOS ONE 9:e86765
    20. Vergés A, Steinberg PD, Hay ME, Poore AG, Campbell AH, Ballesteros E, Heck KL, Booth D, Coleman MA, Feary D, Figueira W, Langlois T, Marzinelli EM, Mizerek T, Mumby P, Nakamura Y, Roughan M, van Sebille E, Sen Gupta A, Smale D, Tomas F, Wernberg T & Wilson SK (2014) The tropicalisation of temperate marine ecosystems: climate-mediated changes in herbivory and community phase shifts. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 281:20140846
    21. Marzinelli EM, Burrows MT, Jackson AC & Mayer-Pinto M (2012) Positive and negative effects of habitat-forming algae on survival, growth and intra-specific competition of limpets. PLOS ONE 7:e51601
    22. Marzinelli EM (2012) Artificial structures influence fouling on habitat-forming kelps. Biofouling 28:339-349
    23. Marzinelli EM, Underwood AJ & Coleman RA (2012) Modified habitats change ecological processes affecting a non-indigenous epibiont. Marine Ecology Progress Series 446:119-129
    24. Marzinelli EM, Underwood AJ & Coleman RA (2011) Modified habitats influence kelp epibiota via direct and indirect effects. PLOS ONE 6:e21936
    25. Johnston EL, Marzinelli EM, Wood CA, Speranza D & Bishop JDD (2011) Bearing the burden of boat harbours: heavy contaminant and fouling loads in a native habitat-forming alga. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62:2137-2144
    26. Marzinelli EM, Zagal CJ, Chapman MG & Underwood AJ (2009) Do modified habitats have direct or indirect effects on epifauna? Ecology 90:2948-2955
    27. Marzinelli EM, Bigatti G & Penchaszadeh PE (2008) Egg strain in the sea urchin Pseudechinus magellanicus (Echinoidea: Temnopleuridae). Revista de Biología Tropical /International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation 56:335-339
    28. Bigatti G, Marzinelli EM & Penchaszadeh PE (2008) Seasonal reproduction and sexual maturity in Odontocymbiola magellanica (Neogastropoda: Volutidae). Invertebrate Biology 127:314-326
    29. Marzinelli EM, Bigatti G, Giménez J & Penchaszadeh PE (2006) Reproduction of the sea urchin Pseudechinus magellanicus (Echinoidea: Temnopleuridae) from Golfo Nuevo, Argentina. Bulletin of Marine Science 79:127-136


  1. Thompson LR, Sanders JG, …, Jansson JK, Gilbert JA, Knight R, …, Marzinelli EM, et al. (2017) The Earth Microbiome Project. Nature
  2. Marzinelli EM, Qiu Z, Dafforn KA, Johnston EL, Steinberg PD & Mayer-Pinto M (In review) Coastal urbanisation affects the microbiome of a dominant marine holobiont. Nature Biofilms and Microbiomes
  3. * Qiu Z, Coleman MA, Provost E, Campbell AH, Kelaher BP, Dalton SJ, Thomas T, Steinberg PD & Marzinelli EM (In review) Future climate change affects the microbiome and condition of habitat-forming kelp. Journal of Ecology
  4. * Ferrari R, Marzinelli EM, Rezende Ayorza C, Jordan A, Figueira W, Byrne M, Malcom HA, Williams SB & Steinberg PD (In review) Large-scale assessment of benthic communities in marine protected areas using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. Scientific Reports
  5. Saxena G, Mitra S, Marzinelli EM, Xie C, Wei TJ, Steinberg PD, Williams RBH, Kjelleberg S, Lauro F & Swarup S (In review) Metagenomics insights of benthic microbial communities in an urban waterway and influenced by land-use and rain perturbations. mSystems
  6. Turney C, Klekociuk A, Fogwill C, Zunz V, Goosse H, Parkinson C, Compo G, Lazzara M, Sardeshmukh P,  Keller L, Whitaker J, Brohan P, Allan R, van Sebille E, Wilson KJ, Palmer J, Clark G & Marzinelli EM (In review) Brief communication: Changing mid-twentieth century Antarctic sea ice variability linked to tropical forcing. The Cryosphere
  7. McGeoch M, Latombe G, Andrew N, Nakagawa S, Nipperess D, Roige M, Marzinelli EM, Campbell AH, Thomas T, Vergés A, Steinberg PD, Selwood K & Hui C (In review) Measuring compositional turnover in molecules to metazoans using zeta diversity. Methods in Ecology and Evolution
  8. Guest JR, Vergés A, Bauman AG, Campbell AH, Chou LM, Feary DA, Low J, Marzinelli EM, Tun K & Steinberg PD (In review) Examining the relationship between fish herbivore biomass, coral and macroalgal cover on Singapore’s heavily disturbed reefs. PeerJ