Profile image of Martino Malerba

Dr Martino Malerba



ARC Decra Fellow


Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env


School of Life & Env Sciences


Melbourne Burwood Campus


Doctor of Philosophy, James Cook University, 2016


Dr Martino Malerba is an ecologist, evolutionary biologist, and environmental scientist. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms shaping nature across scales.

At the microscopic scale, Martino has a decade of experience working with phytoplankton species, combining laboratory experiments, fieldwork and theoretical approaches. In particular, he designed and managed the World’s first artificial selection program with a microorganism, which is ongoing since early 2016.

At the macroscopic scale, Martino studies the impacts of artificial structures on greenhouse gases in aquatic systems. For instance, he used satellite data to derive the first estimates on the impacts of marine urbanization (such as ports, quays, marinas, etc.) on primary productivity and carbon emission. He also worked on estimating the biogenic emissions of producing energy, comparing renewable sources with non-renewable power plans.

Martino’s research at Deakin’s Blue Carbon Lab focuses on developing satellite tools to quantify and monitor greenhouse gases from Australia’s farm dams. Farm dams are the highest greenhouse gas emitters of all freshwater ecosystems, producing the equivalent to 385,000 cars each day in Victoria alone. Martino launched, an interactive platform on the effects of farm dams in Australia. He leads an interdisciplinary project in collaboration with IT, Engineering, and Environmental Sciences to explore management strategies and incentives for “greener” practices.

Read more on Martino's profile

Biography summary

Dr Malerba is working on nature-based solutions to combat climate change for a more sustainable future.

Career highlights

  • 2020: Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship at Deakin Univeristy
  • 2016-202: Fellowship at the Centre for Geometric Biology at Monash Univeristy
  • 2012-2016: PhD at James Cook University
  • 2010-2011: Honours at James Cook University
  • 2007-2009: Bachelor of Science at James Cook University 

Knowledge areas

  • Aquatic primary production
  • Carbon Cycling
  • Remote Sensing
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Statistics

Media appearances

Article on The Conversation about the impacts of marine urbanisation


  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Australian farm dams
  • Remote sensing for cost-effective blue carbon inventories
  • Water security under climate change
  • AusDams: an interactive portal on the physical, environmental and ecological impacts of farm dams.


Filter by


Australian farm dams are becoming less reliable water sources under climate change

M Malerba, N Wright, P Macreadie

(2022), Vol. 829, pp. 1-10, Science of the Total Environment, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Fencing farm dams to exclude livestock halves methane emissions and improves water quality

M Malerba, D Lindenmayer, B Scheele, P Waryszak, I Yilmaz, L Schuster, P Macreadie

(2022), Vol. 28, pp. 4701-4712, Global Change Biology, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Long-term experimental evolution decouples size and production costs in Escherichia coli

D Marshall, M Malerba, T Lines, A Sezmis, C Hasan, R Lenski, M McDonald

(2022), Vol. 119, pp. 1-8, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., C1

journal article

Methane emissions from agricultural ponds are underestimated in national greenhouse gas inventories

M Malerba, T de Kluyver, N Wright, L Schuster, P Macreadie

(2022), Vol. 3, Communications Earth and Environment, C1

journal article

Methane and nitrous oxide emissions complicate the climate benefits of teal and blue carbon wetlands

M Malerba, D Friess, M Peacock, A Grinham, P Taillardat, J Rosentreter, J Webb, N Iram, A Al-Haj, P Macreadie

(2022), Vol. 5, pp. 1336-1341, One Earth, C1

journal article

Cell size influences inorganic carbon acquisition in artificially selected phytoplankton

M Malerba, D Marshall, M Palacios, J Raven, J Beardall

(2021), Vol. 229, pp. 2647-2659, New Phytologist, England, C1-1

journal article

A continental‐scale assessment of density, size, distribution and historical trends of farm dams using deep learning convolutional neural networks

M Malerba, N Wright, P Macreadie

(2021), Vol. 13, pp. 1-17, Remote Sensing, C1

journal article

Effects of a nutrient enrichment pulse on blue carbon ecosystems

M Palacios, S Trevathan-Tackett, M Malerba, P Macreadie

(2021), Vol. 165, Marine Pollution Bulletin, England, C1

journal article

Larger cells have relatively smaller nuclei across the Tree of Life

M Malerba, D Marshall

(2021), Vol. 5, pp. 306-314, Evolution Letters, England, C1

journal article

Testing the drivers of the temperature-size covariance using artificial selection

M Malerba, D Marshall

(2020), Vol. 74, pp. 169-178, Evolution, C1-1

journal article

Genome Size Affects Fitness in the Eukaryotic Alga Dunaliella tertiolecta

M Malerba, G Ghedini, D Marshall

(2020), Vol. 30, pp. 3450-3456.e3, Current Biology, England, C1-1

journal article

How to estimate community energy flux? A comparison of approaches reveals that size-abundance trade-offs alter the scaling of community energy flux: What drives community energy flux?

G Ghedini, M Malerba, D Marshall

(2020), Vol. 287, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, England, C1-1

journal article

Size-abundance rules? Evolution changes scaling relationships between size, metabolism and demography

M Malerba, D Marshall

(2019), Vol. 22, pp. 1407-1416, Ecology letters, Chichester, Eng., C1-1

journal article

The outsized trophic footprint of marine urbanization

M Malerba, C White, D Marshall

(2019), Vol. 17, pp. 400-406, Frontiers in ecology and the environment, Chichester, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Sensitivity of live microalgal aquaculture feed to singlet oxygen-based photodynamic therapy

D Malara, L Høj, M Oelgemöller, M Malerba, G Citarrella, K Heimann

(2019), Vol. 31, pp. 3593-3606, Journal of Applied Phycology, C1-1

journal article

Do larger individuals cope with resource fluctuations better? An artificial selection approach

M Malerba, M Palacios, D Marshall

(2018), Vol. 285, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, England, C1-1

journal article

Multiple predator effects on juvenile prey survival

M Palacios, M Malerba, M McCormick

(2018), Vol. 188, pp. 417-427, Oecologia, Germany, C1-1

journal article

Cell size, photosynthesis and the package effect: an artificial selection approach

M Malerba, M Palacios, Y Palacios Delgado, J Beardall, D Marshall

(2018), Vol. 219, pp. 449-461, New Phytologist, England, C1-1

journal article

Beneficial Mutations from Evolution Experiments Increase Rates of Growth and Fermentation

A Sezmis, M Malerba, D Marshall, M McDonald

(2018), Vol. 86, pp. 111-117, Journal of Molecular Evolution, Germany, C1-1

journal article

Eco-energetic consequences of evolutionary shifts in body size

M Malerba, C White, D Marshall

(2018), Vol. 21, pp. 54-62, Ecology letters, Chichester, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Phytoplankton size-scaling of net-energy flux across light and biomass gradients

M Malerba, C White, D Marshall

(2017), Vol. 98, pp. 3106-3115, Ecology, Chichester, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Extreme dissolved oxygen variability in urbanised tropical wetlands: The need for detailed monitoring to protect nursery ground values

A Dubuc, N Waltham, M Malerba, M Sheaves

(2017), Vol. 198, pp. 163-171, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, C1-1

journal article

Standard flow cytometry as a rapid and non-destructive proxy for cell nitrogen quota

M Malerba, S Connolly, K Heimann

(2016), Vol. 28, pp. 1085-1095, Journal of applied phycology, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1-1

journal article

Improving dynamic phytoplankton reserve-utilization models with an indirect proxy for internal nitrogen

M Malerba, K Heimann, S Connolly

(2016), Vol. 404, pp. 1-9, Journal of theoretical biology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1

journal article

Nutrient utilization traits vary systematically with intraspecific cell size plasticity

M Malerba, K Heimann, S Connolly

(2016), Vol. 30, pp. 1745-1755, Functional ecology, Chichester, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Why do larger mothers produce larger offspring? A test of classic theory

H Cameron, K Monro, M Malerba, S Munch, D Marshall

(2016), Vol. 97, pp. 3452-3459, Ecology, Chichester, Eng., C1-1

journal article

An experimentally validated nitrate-ammonium-phytoplankton model including effects of starvation length and ammonium inhibition on nitrate uptake

M Malerba, S Connolly, K Heimann

(2015), Vol. 317, pp. 30-40, Ecological modelling, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1

journal article

Nitrate-nitrite dynamics and phytoplankton growth: Formulation and experimental evaluation of a dynamic model

M Malerba, S Connolly, K Heimann

(2012), Vol. 57, pp. 1555-1571, Limnology and Oceanography, C1-1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Optimal management of Australia¿s farm dams to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions

Dr Martino Malerba

ARC DECRA - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

  • 2023: $32,147
  • 2022: $155,300

Other Public Sector Funding

Teal carbon ERF method

Prof Peter Macreadie, Dr Martino Malerba, Dr Stacey Trevathan-Tackett

CCMA Grant - Research Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

  • 2021: $15,000

Monitoring carbon emissions of the Westernport wastewater facility.

Dr Martino Malerba, Dr Lukas Schuster, Prof Peter Macreadie

Westernport Water

  • 2022: $90,000

Industry and Other Funding

Boosting drought resilience in the Lower Loddon Landscape.

Dr Martino Malerba, Dr Paul Carnell, Dr Lukas Schuster, Prof Peter Macreadie, Dr Stacey Trevathan-Tackett

Wetland Revival Trust

  • 2022: $50,210


No completed student supervisions to report