Dr Joe Marlow

        Head and shoulder photo of Dr Joe Marlow

Marine Growth Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a benthic ecologist developing photogrammetry and artificial intelligence methodologies to accurately measure and predict marine growth on offshore man-made structures.

Contact details:

I am a benthic ecologist with a wide range of research interests. My PhD and much of my former background focused on tropical reefs, habitat degradation and reef bioerosion. I subsequently worked in New Zealand for the Department of Conservation, conducting surveys on deep-water reefs in the southern fjords. Prior to coming to SAMS, I worked with British Antarctic Survey, researching growth and seasonality in Antarctic benthos, particularly sponges, anemones and sea cucumbers.

At SAMS my research is focused using photogrammetry to model benthic growth on man-made structures, e.g. oil & gas platforms and offshore wind turbines.


Current project

North Sea 3D: Funded by INSITE (INfluence of man-made Structures in The Ecosystem). 2021-24: We are using novel photogrammetry-based methods to quantify and ultimately predict benthic biomass on offshore man-made structures. 

Peer-reviewed publications

Marlow J, Smith D, Werorilangi S, Bell JJ (2018) Sedimentation limits the erosion rate of a bioeroding sponge. Marine Ecology 39: e12483

Marlow J, Schönberg CHL, Davy SK, Jompa J, Haris A, Bell JJ (2018) Bioeroding sponge assemblages: the importance of substrate availability and sediment. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 99:343-358

Marlow J, Shaffer M, Davy SK, Haris A, Bell JJ (2018) Bleaching recovery of a phototrophic bioeroding sponge. Coral Reefs 37:565-570

Marlow J, Davy SK, Haris A, Bell JJ (2018) Photoacclimation to light-limitation in a clionaid sponge; implications for understanding sponge bioerosion on turbid reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin 135:466-474

Marlow J, Haris A, Bell JJ (2019) The importance of philopatry and hydrodynamics in the recruitment of bioeroding sponges on Indonesian coral reefs. Marine and Freshwater Research 1-12 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF18229

Marlow J, Haris A, Jompa J, Werorilangi S, Bates T, Bennett H, Bell JJ (2020) Spatial variation in the community composition of coral reefs in the Wakatobi Marine National Park, Indonesia: updated baselines and limited benthic community shifts. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 100:37-44

Marlow J, Bell JJ, Shaffer M, Haris A, Schönberg CHL (Under Review) Bioeroding sponge species from the Wakatobi region of southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. Zootaxa

Bell JJ, McGrath E, Kandler NM, Marlow J, Beepat SS, Bachtiar R, Shaffer MR, Mortimer C, Micaroni V, Mobilia V, Rovellini A (2020) Interocean patterns in shallow water sponge assemblage structure and function. Biological Reviews

Bell JJ, McGrath E, Biggerstaff A, Bates T, Bennett H, Marlow J, Shaffer M (2015) Sediment impacts on marine sponges. Marine Pollution Bulletin 94:5-13

Bell JJ, Biggerstaff A, Bates T, Bennett H, Marlow J, McGrath E, Shaffer M (2017) Sponge monitoring: Moving beyond diversity and abundance measures. Ecological Indicators 78:470-488.


Other publications

Bell JJ, Biggerstaff A, Rovellini A, Mortimer C, Bennett H, Marlow J, McGrath E, Shaffer M (2017) Impacts of Short-Term Large-Scale Climatic Variation on Sponge Assemblages. In Bell JJ & Carballo JS (eds) Climate Change, Ocean Acidification and Sponges. Springer

Marlow J (2017) Bleaching recovery of a phototrophic bioeroding sponge. 10th World Sponge Conference, Galway, Ireland.

Employment history

Since 2021: Marine Growth Postdoctoral Research Associate. SAMS

2019-21 Marine Biologist. British Antarctic Survey, UK

2018-19 Taxonomist. Cawthron Institute. New Zealand

2018-19 Researcher. Victoria University of Wellington / Department of Conservation. New Zealand



2018 PhD Habitat Degradation and Sponge Bioerosion on Indonesian Coral Reefs. Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

2012 MSc Marine Environmental Protection. Bangor University

2009 BSc (Hons) Marine Biology. University of St Andrews