Associate Professor Mark John Costello

BSc (National University of Ireland, Galway), PhD (National University of Ireland, Cork)

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Associate Professor


  • 2004-present lecture in marine ecology at the University of Auckland.
  • 2000-2004 Executive Director of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada.
  • 1997-2000 Founding Managing Director and Chief Scientist with Ecological Consultancy Services Ltd (EcoServe), Dublin, Ireland, a company specialising in ecological research and consultancy.
  • 1990-1997 Research and Teaching Fellow (equivalent to Lecturer and Senior Lecturer) in Environmental Sciences, Trinity College, Dublin.
  • 1988-1990 Research Fellow in Ecotoxicology of Napier University (Edinburgh) based at the Scottish Office Marine Laboratory (Aberdeen and Loch Ewe).
  • 1987 Royal Irish Academy and Royal Society postdoctoral fellowship at the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth.

Research | Current

  • Biodiversity ~ Ecology ~ Biogeography ~ Aquatic ectoparasites ~ Conservation ~ especially in the ocean
  • Geographic patterns of species richness and endemicity, especially global
  • Measures of biodiversity
  • Marine habitat and ecosystem classification and mapping
  • Biology and ecology of sea lice on fish, and their control on fish farms


Teaching | Current

  • Coordinate course 'Marine Protected Areas' (Marine 703)
  • Contribute teaching to courses in Marine Ecology (BioSci 724), Invertebrate Diversity (BioSci 208), Bioinformatics (BioInf 301 & 701), Biogeography (BioSci 395), and Marine Science (Marine 202).

Postgraduate supervision

Areas of interest for graduate student projects

  • Global biodiversity and biogeography, especially in the ocean
  • Marine Reserves, including benthic productivity and trophic structure, and study of Marine Protected Area networks using biogeographic and environmental data.
  • Marine invasive species ecology, biogeography and risk assessment.
  • Ectoparasites (sea lice) of marine fish and aquaculture.

Current graduate students

  1. Irawan Asaad - scientific design of a Marine Protected Area network in the Coral Triangle
  2. Chhaya Chaudhary - latitudinal gradients in marine species richness
  3. Ana Markic - plastic pollution in the south west Pacific
  4. Qianshuo Zhao - mapping marine ecosystems of the world
  5. Dinusha Jayathilake - mapping marine biomes of the world
  6. Maria Charry - estuarine copepods as contaminant bioassays
  7. Nestor Robinson - modelling distribution of invasive seaweeds
  8. Joko Pamungkas - biogeography and ecology of polychaetes
  9. Tri Arfianti - biogeography and ecology of amphipod crustaceans
  10. Rikki Taylor - ecosystem indicators from trawl survey data
  11. India Merrick - methods for designing marine reserve networks
  12. Han-Yang Lin - evolutionary biogeography and ecology of fish

Recent PhD students

  • Dr Charley Waters - biology and restoration of giant clam populations
  • Dr Zeenatul Basher - ecology and distribution modelling of benthic shrimp of Antarctica
  • Dr Hanieh Saeedi - global biogeography of razor clams


  • President of the International Association for Biological Oceanography (2009-) a member of the International Union of Biological Sciences
  • Executive Committee of the Scientific Committee for Ocean Research (SCOR) (2010-2016)
  • Group on Earth Observations (GEO) marine Biodiversity Observation Network Working Group 5 (2012-) (Co-chair)
  • Marine and Freshwater Editor of Biological Conservation (2010-2016)
  • Vice-Chair of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility Science Committee (2012-2016)
  • Pool of Experts for the (UN) Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment (2013-present), the “World Ocean Assessment”.
  • First Chair of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, the data system of the Census of Marine Life (2001-2008)
  • Founding Chair of the World Register of Marine Species
  • Member of European Commission Scientific Committee of Toxicology, Ecotoxicology and the Environment (1999-2000) (independent invited experts that provided ‘opinions’ to EC on scientific matters)

Areas of expertise

  • Biodiversity, and biogeography, especially marine and global
  • Conservation, marine reserves, invasive species
  • Sea lice parasites and aquaculture

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member of

  • Species 2000 ‘Global Team’ of experts (2010-)
  • Advisory Board of the new European Journal of Taxonomy (2012-)
  • Advisory Board of the new journal BioInvasions Records, the International Journal of Applied Research on Biological Invasions (2012-)
  • First editorial board of new journal Aquaculture Environment Interactions (2009-)
  • Treasurer of Council of the Society for the Management of Electronic Biodiversity (2012-), Data Vice-Chair (2010-2011), Chair (2004-2010), Secretary (1999-2004)
  • Member Council of New Zealand Marine Sciences Society (2004-2012)


  • European and World Registers of Marine Species at (1999 and 2007-present)
  • The Society for the Management of Electronic Biodiversity Data (2000)
  • The Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland 1994
  • email lists for Marine Research Information Network on Biodiversity (MARINE-B), sealice (Caligus), and Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (EnviroNet) in late 1990’s.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Costello, M. J., & Breyer, S. (2017). Ocean Depths: The Mesopelagic and Implications for Global Warming. Curr Biol, 27 (1), R36-R38. 10.1016/j.cub.2016.11.042
  • Chaudhary, C., Saeedi, H., & Costello, M. J. (2017). Marine Species Richness Is Bimodal with Latitude: A Reply to Fernandez and Marques. Trends in Ecology and Evolution10.1016/j.tree.2017.02.007
  • Costello, M. J., Beard, K. H., Corlett, R. T., Cumming, G. S., Devictor, V., Loyola, R., ... Primack, R. B. (2016). Field work ethics in biological research. Biological Conservation, 203, 268-271. 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.10.008
  • Costello, M. J. (2016). Parasite Rates of Discovery, Global Species Richness and Host Specificity. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 56 (4), 588-599. 10.1093/icb/icw084
  • Chaudhary, C., Saeedi, H., & Costello, M. J. (2016). Bimodality of Latitudinal Gradients in Marine Species Richness. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 31 (9), 670-676. 10.1016/j.tree.2016.06.001
  • Costello, M. J., & Ballantine, B. (2015). Biodiversity conservation should focus on no-take Marine Reserves: 94% of Marine Protected Areas allow fishing. Trends in ecology & evolution, 30 (9), 507-509.
  • Costello, M. J., Claus, S., Dekeyzer, S., Vandepitte, L., Tuama É, Lear, D., & Tyler-Walters, H. (2015). Biological and ecological traits of marine species. PeerJ, 201510.7717/peerj.1201
  • Costello, M. J., Vanhoorne, B., & Appeltans, W. (2015). Conservation of biodiversity through taxonomy, data publication, and collaborative infrastructures. Conservation Biology, 29 (4), 1094-1099. 10.1111/cobi.12496


Contact details

Alternative contact

Mobile telephone 00 64 21 186 9878

Primary location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 3, Room 315
New Zealand

Social links

Web links