Professor Mark John Costello

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


  • 2004-present lecturer in: biogeography, bioinformatics, biodiversity, Marine Reserves, ecology, conservation.
  • 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 ~ Marine Reserves
  • 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 Biogeography (BioSci 395), Bioinformatics (BioInf 301 & 701), 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
  13. Nicholas MacRae - baseline ecology of a coral reef ecosystem
  14. Thomas Morris - biogeography of marine parasites

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


  • New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Annual Award for ““a person’s continued outstanding contribution to marine science in New Zealand” (2017).
  • Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award at the 2017 Esri User Conference; for contribution to development of the Ecological Marine Units 3-dimensional environmental classification of the oceans.
  • Science Council of the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) (2017-)
  • Board of Directors (i.e. Advisory Board) at the DataOpen (2017-)
  • Vice-President of INVASIVESNET (2017-)
  • New Zealand delegate to the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) World Data System (2015-)
  • Co-Chair the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Biodiversity Observation Network (BON) Marine Ecosystem Change Working Group 5, its successor the Marine-BON, and to be a member of the GEO BON Implementation Committee (2012-)
  • President of the International Association for Biological Oceanography (IABO) (2009-) a member of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) and in turn, of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), General Secretary (2002-2009)
  • Steering Committee of the World Register of Marine Species (2013-), founding Chair (2007-2013)
  • New Zealand nominated expert to the UNCLOS World Ocean Assessment (“Pool of Experts for the UN Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment”) (2013-present)
  • Finalist in the world Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP) for Open Access scientific publications sponsored by Google, PLoS and Wellcome Trust (2014), which led to blog posts

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)


  • Co-established Biotaxa, an online archive and editorial management system that facilitates the publication and preservation of journals in biological taxonomy (from 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)


Contact details

Alternative contact

Mobile telephone 00 64 21 186 9878

Primary location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
New Zealand

Social links

Web links