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Mackenzie Zippay

Associate Professor, Biology Graduate Program Coordinator

Mackenzie Zippay
Mackenzie Zippay


(707) 664-4349
Zippay Lab Website


Darwin 235

Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara 2009

Postdoctoral Experience:
University of South Carolina/Northeastern University
Medical University of South Carolina

Research Interests: 
Environmental Physiology/Eco-Physiology; Comparative Physiology; Climate Change Biology

Research Program:
In the broadest sense, my research interests focus on the comparative and molecular physiology of marine invertebrates that inhabit dynamic environments. Much of my research has centered on understanding how variation in the natural environment translates to an organism’s physiological performance by coupling molecular, cellular and biochemical processes in an ecological context. Notably, my physiological interests allow me to integrate my research with molecular, climate change biology and biophysical modeling. Currently, my research focuses on using intertidal mussels as a model organism to integrate molecular based analyses of cellular stress with oceanographic and climatic variables to quantitatively predict patterns of growth, reproduction and survival across multiple spatial scales. To this end, I am integrating dynamic energy budget models into an interdisciplinary framework to address physiological responses of organisms to physical and environmental variables. This bioenergetic model uses a quantitative framework to describe the rates at which individual organisms exploit energy from food from their habitat and how efficient they are at utilizing the available energy. A key aspect of this method is to elucidate energetic pathways that may be compromised by environmental variation and could lead to sublethal responses like changes in growth and reproduction, allowing me to address whether these animals possess sufficient physiological plasticity to adapt to rapid global climate change.

Course Offerings:
BIOL 115 - Introduction to Biology
BIOL 130 - Intro to Genetics and Cell Biology
BIOL 347 - Environmental Physiology
BIOL 349 - Animal Physiology

Selected Publications & Presentations

Torossian, J.L., Hosek, K.E., Donelan, S.C., Trussell, G.C., Helmuth, B.S., and Zippay, M.L. (2020) Physiological and biochemical responses to acute environmental stress and predation risk in the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis. Journal of Sea Research 159.

Collins C., Burnett N., Ramsey M., Wagner K., Zippay M. (2019) Physiological responses to heat stress in an invasive mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis depend on tidal habitat. Marine Environmental Research.

Vasadia D., Zippay M., Place S. (2019) Characterization of thermally sensitive miRNAs reveals a central role of the FoxO signaling pathway in regulating the cellular stress response of an extreme stenotherm, Trematomus bernacchii. Marine Genomics, 48,

Helmuth B., et al. (2016) Long-term, high frequency in situ measurements of intertidal mussel bed temperatures using biomimetic sensors. Scientific data3, p.160087.

Zippay M.L., Matzelle A., Montalto V., Rinaldi A., Sarà G., Helmuth B. (2015) The bioenergetics of Mytilus californianus across ecological and physiological gradients (in prep).

Matzelle A., Sarà G., Montalto V., Zippay M., Trussell G., Helmuth B. (2015) A framework for integrating multiple stressors through metabolic theory: opening a ‘black box’ in climate change research. Amer. Malacological Bulletin 33: 1-11.

Matzelle A., Montalto V., Sarà G. Zippay M., Helmuth B. (2014) Dynamic Energy Budget model parameterization for the bivalve Mytilus californianus: Application of the covariation method. J of Sea Research, 94: 105-110.

Van Dolah F.M., Zippay, M.L., Pezzolesi L., Rein K.S., Wang Z., and Pistocchi, R. (2013) Subcellular localization of dinoflagellate polyketide synthases and fatty acid synthase activity. J. of Phycology 49: 1118-1127.

Burnett, N.P., Seabra, R., de Pirro, M., Wethey, D.S., Woodin, S., Helmuth, B., Zippay, M.L., Sarà, G., Monaco, C., and Lima, F.P. (2013) An improved noninvasive method for measuring heartbeat of intertidal animals. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 11: 91-100.

Enzor, L.A., Zippay, M.L. and Place, S.P. (2013) High latitude fish in a high CO2 world: Synergistic effects of elevated temperature and carbon dioxide on the metabolic rates of Antarctic notothenioids. Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A 164: 154-161.

Zippay, M.L. and Helmuth, B. (2012) Effects of Temperature Change on mussels, Mytilus (Linnaeus 1798). Integrative Zoology 7: 312-327.

Zippay M.L. and Hofmann G.E. (2010) Effect of pH on gene expression and thermal tolerance of early life history stages of red abalone (Haliotis rufescens). J. Shellfish Research 29: 429-439.

Zippay M.L. and Hofmann G.E. (2010) Physiological tolerances across latitudes: Thermal sensitivity on larval marine snails (Nucella spp.). Marine Biology 157(4): 707-714.

O’Donnell M.J., Todgham A.E., Sewell M.A., Hammond L.M., Ruggiero K., Fangue N.A., Zippay M.L. and Hofmann G.E. (2010) Ocean acidification alters skeletogenesis and gene expression in larval sea urchins. Marine Ecology Progress Series 398:157-171.

Alberto F., Whitmer A., Coelho N., Zippay M., Varela-Alvarez, Raimondi P.T., Reed D.C & Serrão E.A. (2009) Microsatellite markers for the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. Conservation Genetics 10:1915-1917.

Zippay M.L., Place S.P., and Hofmann G.E. (2004) The molecular chaperone Hsc70 from a eurythermal marine goby exhibits temperature sensitivity during luciferase refolding assays. Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A 138: 1-7.

Place S.P., Zippay M.L., and Hofmann G.E. (2004) Constitutive roles for inducible genes: evidence for the alteration in expression of the inducible hsp70 gene in Antarctic notothenioid fishes. American Journal of Physiology 287: 429-436.

Hofmann G.E., Buckley B.B., Place S.P., and Zippay M.L. (2002) Molecular chaperones in ectothermic marine animals: Biochemical function and gene expression. Integrative and Comparative Biology 42: 808-814.