Professor Mark John Costello

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

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  • 2020-present, professor in marine ecology at Nord University, Bodo, Norway and 
  • 2004-present professor teaching in biogeography, Marine Reserves, biodiversity informatics. 
  • 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

  • From 2020 I no longer teach courses at the University of Auckland as I have moved my primary appointment to Nord University, Norway.
  • I coordinated the 'Marine Protected Areas' (Marine 703) course and contributed to teaching courses in Biogeography (BioSci 395), Bioinformatics (BioInf 301 & 701), and Marine Science (Marine 202).

Postgraduate supervision

I am not accepting to be primary supervisor of graduate students at the University of Auckland as my primary appointment is now at Nord University where I will continue to supervise students in these areas:

  • Global biodiversity and biogeography, especially in the ocean
  • Marine Reserves 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.

Enquiries regarding MSc or PhD study should demonstrate they have reviewed relevant posts on our website 

Current graduate students

  1. Dinusha Jayathilake - mapping marine biomes of the world
  2. Nestor Robinson - modelling distribution of invasive seaweeds
  3. Joko Pamungkas - biodiversity and biogeography of polychaetes
  4. Tri Arfianti - biodiversity and biogeography of amphipod crustaceans
  5. Han-Yang Lin - evolutionary biogeography and ecology of fish
  6. Victoria Lai - the effects of climate warming on aquaculture parasite (sea lice) distributions
  7. Janine Cunningham - the global biodiversity of fungi and their rates of description
  8. Thomas Morris - biodiversity and biogeography of marine parasites
  9. Lena Hartebrodt - biodiversity and biogeography of isopod crustaceans
  10. Tamlin Jefferson - global planning of marine conservation areas

Recent graduate students

  • Dr Qianshuo Zhao - mapping marine ecosystems of the world
  • Nicholas MacRae - baseline ecology of a coral reef ecosystem
  • Dr Ana Markic - plastic pollution in the south Pacific
  • Dr Maria Charry - estuarine copepods as contaminant bioassays
  • Dr Chhaya Chaudhary - latitudinal and depth gradients in marine species richness
  • Dr Irawan Asaad - scientific design of a Marine Protected Area network in the Coral Triangle
  • India Merrick - methods for designing marine reserve networks
  • 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
  • Rikki Taylor - ecosystem indicators from trawl survey data


  • 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) (2017-2019)
  • 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 (2015-2019)
  • 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) (2009-2018) 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 (2013-2019), 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


Teaching responsibilities include coordination of the post-graduate diploma course on Marine Protected Areas, and third year teaching in biogeography, biodiversity informatics, and marine ecology; as well as graduate student supervision.

Areas of expertise

  • Biodiversity, biogeography, biodiversity informatics, 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 office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 301 - Bldg 301
Level 5, Room 527B
New Zealand

Social links

Web links