Dr Ezequiel Marzinelli
Research Associate
Field of Research: 
Marine ecology, human impacts, kelp forests, restoration ecology
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 8723

Room 501H, D26 Building
UNSW, Kensington 2052


Research & Current Projects

I am specialised in marine ecology. My research is on processes that influence distributions, abundances and interactions of organisms in marine habitats. I am particularly interested in the interactive effects of anthropogenic disturbances, natural enemies (e.g. pathogens) and climatic change on ecological processes. Identifying their effects on ecological processes and having mechanistic understanding will allow understanding of the effects of changes induced by humans and other disturbances and providing sound, practical advice for conservation and management.


Disease is an ecological process that has been largely overlooked, particularly in temperate marine systems. Recent studies have shown strong detrimental effects of pathogens on recruit and adult macroalgae. These effects are greater with increased water temperatures. This suggests that macroalgal disease will interact with climatic change. Data from large-scale surveys are being coupled with manipulative experiments to have a mechanistic understanding of the interactive effects of disease, climatic change and anthropogenic stressors on habitat-forming algae and the organisms they support.

Collaborators: Dr Torsten Thomas, Dr Suhelen Egan, Dr Tilmann Harder (UNSW), Dr Alexandra Campbell, Prof. Peter Steinberg (UNSW, SIMS)


Algae provide habitat and food to many organisms. Despite the significant importance of subtidal habitat-forming macroalgae in coastal marine systems, little is known about the processes that influence their distribution and abundances in temperate Australia. These habitats are amongst the most sensitive to environmental change. The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) is a research facility within the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) that delivers rapidly and cost-effectively high resolution, accurately geo-referenced and precisely targeted benthic images to monitor changes in the benthos, particularly beyond diver depths. This will provide the baseline ecological data necessary to make quantitative inferences about the long-term effects of climatic change and anthropogenic stressors on the benthos. Thus, this data will allow detecting shifts in distribution of habitat-forming macroalgae and the organisms they support.



The loss of habitat-forming macroalgae along urbanised shorelines is a global issue. Human impacts through multiple stressors, such as urbanisation and nutrient loading, are causing significant declines of key species of algae that provide habitat and food to many marine organisms. As a consequence, the loss of habitat-forming algae has significant impacts on local productivity and biodiversity. Phyllospora comosa is an important habitat-forming alga that has disappeared from the Sydney coastline. Manipulative experiments designed to determine the processes preventing the reestablishment of this alga and the associated organisms are in progress. Understanding the factors and processes that allow the restoration and reestablishment of macroalgae and the biodiversity they support is critical for developing successful strategies for restoration and management.

Collaborators: Prof. Peter Steinberg, Dr Alexandra Campbell, Dr Adriana Verges(UNSW, SIMS), Dr Melinda Coleman, Dr Brendan Kelaher (NSW DPI)


Research Students

Rebecca Neumann, PhD candidate (UNSW) – Environmental stress, chemical defences and disease in the habitat-forming kelp Ecklonia radiata. Co-supervisor (Primary supervisor Professor Peter Steinberg and Dr Tilmann Harder)

Ana Bugnot, PhD candidate (USYD) - The ecological interactions between native fauna and the invasive isopod Cirolana harfordi. Co-supervisor (with A/Prof. Ross Coleman and Dr Will Figueira)

Marty Leong, Honours candidate (UNSW). Co-supervisor (with Dr Adriana Verges andDr Alexandra Campbell)



MSCI0501 The Marine Environment



Marzinelli EM(2012) Artificial marine structures influence fouling on habitat-forming kelps. Biofouling 28: 339-349

Marzinelli EM, Underwood AJ & Coleman RA (2012) Modified habitats change ecological processes affecting a non-indigenous epibiont. Marine Ecology Progress Series 446: 119-129

Johnston EL, Marzinelli EM, Wood CA, Speranza D & Bishop JDD (2011) Bearing the burden of boat harbours: heavy fouling and contaminant loads in a habitat-forming alga. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62: 2137-2144

Marzinelli EM, Underwood AJ & Coleman RA (2011) Modified habitats influence kelp epibiota via direct and indirect effects. PLoS ONE6: e21936

Marzinelli EM, Zagal CJ, Chapman MG & Underwood AJ (2009) Do modified habitats have direct or indirect effects on epifauna? Ecology 90: 2948-2955

Marzinelli EM, Bigatti G & Penchaszadeh PE (2008) Egg strain of the sea urchinPseudechinus magellanicus (Echinoidea: Temnopleuridae). International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation 56: 335-339

Bigatti G, Marzinelli EM & Penchaszadeh PE (2008) Seasonal reproduction and sexual maturity in Odontocymbiola magellanica (Neogastropoda: Volutidae). Invertebrate Biology 127: 314-326

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    

Bigatti G, Marzinelli EM, Cledón M & Penchaszadeh PE (2004) Gonadic cycle of Pseudechinus magellanicus (Philippi, 1857) (Echinoidea: Temnopleuridae) from Patagonia, Argentina. Pages 11-14 in Heinzeller & Nebelsick editors. Echinoderms: Manchen. Taylor & Francis Group, London



Marzinelli EM, Burrows MT, Jackson AC & Mayer-Pinto M (In review) Habitat-forming algae influence survival and intra-specific competition of limpets. PLoS ONE

Marzinelli EM, Williams S, Babcock R, Barrett N, Johnson C, Jordan A, Kendrick G, Pizarro O, Smale D & Steinberg P (In prep.) AUV surveys of deep-water kelp across Australia.

Mayer-Pinto M, Marzinelli EM, Chapman MG & Underwood AJ (In prep.) Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities: a review.

Matias MG, Mayer-Pinto M & Marzinelli EM (In prep.) Artificial biogenic habitats: a review.