Joe Zuccarello

AProf Joe Zuccarello profile picture

Group Manager - Ecology and Biodiversity School of Biological Sciences


Teaching in 2019

Personal Bio

PhD University of California, Berkeley | MSc + BSc University of California, Santa Cruz

I received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California (UC) Santa Cruz, this was in the days when that university did not give grades, just written evaluations! I then was a technician in the laboratory of the phycologist Lynda Goff for several years before I did my Master degree (Marine Biology) again at UC Santa Cruz with Dr Goff (on red algal parasites). I then moved to UC Berkeley for a PhD (Botany, 1993) supervised by John West. My degree was on red algal parasites (again) and their host specificity, plus a few other things. Like all PhD’s I learned a lot about my research area, I became a card-carrying phycologist. It was here that I was introduced to PCR, I remember molecular biology before PCR! I then travelled studying algae wherever I could (Texas, Australia, UK, the Netherlands) as a post-doc, this is basically continued training and experience in science, it is becoming a normal procedure in science if you want an academic position. I arrived at VUW in 2004. I have continued to study algae.

Research interests

My research interests are in seaweeds, this makes me a phycologist, but I have studied all kind of algae (small ones that can’t be called seaweeds, and freshwater ones that at not in the sea), it really is the evolution of algae. I am especially interested in using molecular methods to understand population structure and speciation in marine red algae. Diversity in morphologically simple algae, especially in such rich areas as New Zealand waters, is also best discovered using molecular methods.

The phylogeny of algae at higher levels (species relationships, generic/familial relationships) is also a research interest. Along with molecular techniques I like to incorporate microscopy, life history and physiological studies to increase our knowledge of these under-studied organisms.

Visit the Phycology research group


Boedeker C., O’Kelly C., West J.A., Hanyuda T., Neale A., Wakana I., Wilcox M.D., Karsten U. & Zuccarello G.C. 2017. Molecular phylogeny and taxonomic revision of the genus Wittrockiella (Pithophoraceae, Cladophorales), including the descriptions of W. australis sp. nov. and W. zosterae sp. nov. Journal of Phycology 52: 522-540.

Diehl, N., Kim G.H. & Zuccarello G.C. 2017. A pathogen of New Zealand Pyropia plicata (Bangiales, Rhodophyta), Pythium porphyrae (Oomycota). Algae 32: 29-39.

Preuss M., Nelson W.A. & Zuccarello G.C. 2017. Red algal parasites: a synopsis of described species, their hosts, distinguishing characters and areas for continued research. Botanica Marina 60: 13-25.

West J.A., Hansen G.I., Hanyuda T. & Zuccarello G.C. 2016. Flora of drift plastics: a new red algal genus, Tsunamia transpacifica (Stylonematophyceae) from Japanese tsunami debrisin the northeast Pacific Ocean. Algae 31: 289-301.

Zuccarello G.C. & Martin P. 2016. Phylogeography ofthe Lessonia variegata species complex (Phaeophyceae, Laminariales) in New Zealand. Algae 31: 93-103.

View more publications at Google Scholar


Teaching in 2019