Depczynski, Martial

Dr Martial Depczynski

Research Scientist: Coral Reef Ecology
Sustainable Use of NW Marine Ecosystems Program

Contact Information

Phone (08) 6369 4025
Int +61-8-6369 4025


I graduated from James Cook University in 2007 with a PhD in marine ecology and joined AIMS in 2008. My main area of research interest is in ecosystem ecology and its application to the management of aquatic systems. In particular, the importance of biodiversity in the functioning of marine ecosystems and the role of key communities in that process. Within this, past research has included the role of fish communities in trophodynamics, quantitative spatial ecology, environmental shifts in community structures, life history theory and the importance of prey life histories to energy allocations and budgets within ecosystems.


2002: BSc (Hons 1), James Cook University
2007: PhD, James Cook University


My current research activities revolve around science for the conservation and management of Ningaloo Reef and the Kimberley in WA. Assessments of vertebrate and invertebrate group vulnerability and defining habitat correlates that mediate patterns of abundance and distribution within key functional groups are examples of these research activities. Alongside this, I continue my involvement in further understanding ecosystem function with an emphasis on how climate change may affect reef communities. This is very much aimed at the development of direct physiological indicators (ageing, development & reproduction processes) of climate change.


2009 - International Indo-Pacific Fish Conference organising and scientific committees 
2011 - Australian Academy of Science Leo Murphy Think Tank on Stressed Ecosystems. Project expert 
2016 - Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference organising committee


Wernberg T, Depczynski M et al (2016) Climate-driven regime shift of a temperate marine ecosystem. Science 6295

Wilson S, Depczynski M et al (2016) Influence of nursery microhabitats on the future abundance of a coral reef fish. Proc R Soc B 283

Thillainath E, Depczynski et al (2016) Estimating the role of three mesopredatory fishes in coral reef food webs at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Coral Reefs 35

Gagliano M, Depczynski M et al (2015) Facing the environment: Onset and development of UV markings in young fish. Scientific Reports 5

Cocker DJ, Depczynski M et al (2015) Habitat Selectivity and Reliance on Live Corals for Indo-Pacific Hawkfishes. PLoS ONE 10

Wilson S, Depczynski M et al (2014) Seasonal changes in habitat structure underpin shifts in macroalgae-associated tropical fish communities. Mar Biol 161

Fulton CJ, Depczynski M et al (2014) Sea temperature shapes seasonal fluctuations in seaweed biomass within the Ningaloo coral reef ecosystem. Limnol Oceanogr 59

Johansson C, Depczynski M et al (2014) Key herbivores reveal limited functional redundancy on inshore coral reefs. Coral Reefs 32

Depczynski M et al (2013) Bleaching, coral mortality and subsequent survivorship on a West Australian fringing reef. Coral Reefs 32

Depczynski M, Gagliano M (2013) Natural-born con artists and counterfeiters - Who is being deceived here? Comm Integr Biol 6

Moore J, Depczynski M et al (2012) Unprecedented mass bleaching and loss of coral across 12o of latitude in Western Australia. PLoS ONE 7

Bellwood D, Depczynski M et al (2012) Coral recovery may not herald the return of fishes on damaged coral reefs. Oecologia 170

Depczynski M et al (2007) Life history patterns shape energy allocation among fishes on coral reefs. Oecologia 153

Depczynski M, Bellwood D (2006) Extremes, plasticity and invariance in vertebrate life history traits: insights from coral reef fishes. Ecology 87

Bellwood D, Depczynski M et al (2006) Coral bleaching, reef fish community phase shifts and the resilience of coral reefs. Global Change Biol 12

Depczynski M, Bellwood D (2005) Shortest recorded vertebrate lifespan found in a coral reef fish. Curr Biol 15