Dr Mark Brown
ARC QEll Fellow
Field of Research: 
Marine microbes and how they are linked to global ecosystems
Contact details:
(+61 2) 9385 1255

LG23, Biological Sciences, UNSW, Kesington, 2052


Research & Current Projects

Research Interests

My research focuses on microbes (Bacteria, Archaea and microbial Eukaryotes), primarily from marine environments, and how they interact with each other and their environment
to form communities that sustain critical ecosystem processes.

Marine microbes are intricately linked to global ecosystems. They perform ~50% of global primary production and mediate processes that drive coastal and open-ocean biogeochemical cycles, including the flux of particulate carbon to the deep ocean. These organisms thus control the fundamental energy base upon which all higher trophic levels depend and modulate the biological ocean carbon pump that helps regulate Earth’s climate.


Towards a predictive model for coastal marine microbial assemblages
Funding: ARC Discovery Grant DP0988002 $725,850
Associates: Jed Fuhrman <http://fuhrmanlab.usc.edu/>
USC Microbial Observatory <http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/biosci/Caron_lab/MO/>

Evolution and adaptation of gut microbiota in marine mammals
Funding: Evolution and Ecology Research Centre $13,000
Associates: Tiffanie Nelson <http://www.bees.unsw.edu.au/school/researchstudents/nelsontiffanie.html>
Tracey Rogers <http://www.bees.unsw.edu.au/school/staff/rogers/rogerstracey.html>

Professional Experience

  • 2002-2004 Wrigley Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • 2004-2007 Research Fellow, NASA Astrobiology Institute, University of Hawaii, Honolulu
  • 2007-2008 Research Fellow, Environmental Microbiology Initiative, UNSW

Active Research Projects


Nelson, T.M., Rogers, T.L., Carlini, A.R. & Brown, M.V. (2012)
Diet and phylogeny shape the gut microbiota of Antarctic seals: a comparison of wild and captive animals.
Environmental Microbiology. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.12022. [Epub ahead of print]

Woodhouse, J.N., Fan, L., Brown, M.V., Thomas, T. & Neilan, B.A. (2012)
Deep sequencing of secondary meta-metabolomes: A preliminary screening tool for determining natural product diversity.
Planta Medica. 78(11): CL51. doi 10.1055/s-0032-1320286

Brown, M.V., Lauro, F.M., Demaere, M.Z., Muir, L., Wilkins, D., Thomas, T., Riddle, M.J., Fuhrman, J.A., Andrews-Pfannkoch, C., Hoffman, J.M., McQuaid, J.B., Allen, A., Rintoul, S.R., & Cavicchioli, R. (2012)
Global biogeography of SAR11 marine bacteria.
Molecular Systems Biology. 8: 595.

Lima, N., Rogers, T., Acevedo-Whitehouse, K., & Brown, M.V. (2012)
Temporal stability and species specificity in bacteria associated with the bottlenose dolphins respiratory system.
Environmental Microbiology Reports. 4(1): 89-96.

Seymor, J.R., Doblin, M.A., Jeffries, T.C., Brown, M.V., Newton, K., Ralph, P.J., Baird, M., & Mitchell, J.G. (2012)
Contrasting microbial assemblages in adjacent water masses associated with the East Australian Current.
Environmental Microbiology Reports. 4(5): 548-555.

Sun, M.Y., Dafforn, K.A., Brown, M.V., & Johnston, E. (2012)
Bacterial communities are sensitive indicators of contaminant stress.
Marine Pollution Bulletin. 64(5): 1029-1038.

Wilkins, D., Lauro, F.M., Williams, T.J., De Maere, M., Brown, M.V., Hoffman, J.M., Andrews-Pfannkoch, C., McQuaid, J.B., Riddle, M.J., Rintoul, S.R., & Cavicchioli, R. (2012)
Biogeographic partitioning of Southern Ocean microorganisms revealed by metagenomics.
Environmental Microbiology. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.12035.

Wilkins, D., Yau, S., Williams, T.J., Allen, M.A., Brown, M.V., Demaere, M.Z., Lauro, F.M., & Cavicchioli, R. (2012)
Key microbial drivers in Antarctic aquatic environments.
FEMS Microbiology Reviews. DOI: 10.1111/1574-6976. 12007.

Winsley, T., van Dorst, J.M., Brown, M.V., & Ferrari, B.C. (2012)
Capturing greater 16S rRNA gene sequence diversity within the domain bacteria.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 78(16): 5938-5941.

Lauro, F.M., DeMaere, M.Z., Yau, S., Brown, M., Ng, C., Wilkins, D., Raftery, M.J., Gibson, J., Andrews-Pfannkoch, C., Lewis, M., Hoffman, J.M., Thomas, T., and Cavicchioli, R. (2011)
An integrative study of a meromictic lake ecosystem in Antarctica.
International Society of Microbial Ecology Journal. 5(5): 879-895.

Yau, S., Lauro, F.M., DeMaere, M.Z., Brown, M.V., Thomas, T., Raftery, M.J., Andrews-Pfannkoch, C., Lewis, M., Hoffman, J.M., Gibson, J.A.E. & Cavicchioli, R. (2011)
Virophage control of Antarctic algal host–virus dynamics.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 108(15): 6163-6168. (Nature News: Gewin, V. "Virus-eater" discovered in Antarctic lake. doi:10.1038/news.2011.188).

Lauro, F.M., McDougald, D., Thomas, T., Williams, T.J., Egan, S., Rice, S., DeMaere, M.Z., Ting, L., Ertan, H., Johnson, J., Ferriera, S., Lapidus, A., Anderson, I., Kyrpides, N., Munk, A.C., Detter, C., Brown, M.V., Robb, F.T., Kjelleberg, S. &Cavicchioli, R. (2009)
The genomic basis of trophic strategy in marine bacteria.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106: 15527–15533. (Cover story and Commentary: Church, M.J. The trophic tapestry of the sea. 15519-15520.)

Brown, M.V., Philip, G.K., Bunge, J., Smith, M.C., Bissett, A., Lauro, F., Fuhrman, J.A., and Donachie, S.P. (2009)
Microbial community structure in the North Pacific Ocean.
ISMEJ. 3(12): 1374-1386.

Mahdi, L.E., Statzell-Tallman, A., Fell, J.W., Brown, M.V. and Donachie, S.P. (2008)
Sympodiomycopsis lanaii sp. Nov. A basidiomycetous yeast from Hawaii.
FEMS Yeast Research. 8(8): 1357-1363.

Fuhrman, J.A., Steele, J.A, Hewson, I., Schwalbach, M.S., Brown, M.V., Green, J.L. and Brown J. (2008)
A latitudinal diversity gradient in planktonic marine bacteria.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA.  105: 7774-7778.