Fabienne Ziadi-Künzli

 Postdoctoral Researcher

As a passionate fish biologist, I have a general interest in the biodiversity, ecology, and evolution of coral reef fishes and their bigger cousins’ sharks. I am particularly interested in the interplay of species-specific life history and behavior of fishes and how these characters can have implications for conservation and sustainable resource management in order to maintain healthy and functional marine ecosystems.

My current research at OIST focuses on the evolutionary transformation of the locomotor system and anatomical elaborations of the pectoral fin of amphibious mudskippers (oxudercinae gobies) using modern imaging techniques such as x-ray micro-computed tomography. Specializing in 3D imaging and subsequent data segmentation has facilitated collaborative projects encompassing research questions related to organismal biology, morphological diversification, or ontogenetic development involving bony fishes as well as invertebrates. I further study the cryptic deep-sea shark community of the Ryukyus Archipelago and mainland Japan by combining comparative morphology and phylogenetics in order to understand their biodiversity and endemicity.

In my free time, you can find me training horses (natural horsemanship) and practicing Karate (instructor, 3. Dan).


  • PhD Marine Science & Environmental Science, University of the Ryukyus 2016
  • MSc Marine Science & Environmental Science, University of the Ryukyus 2011
  • MSc Biology (ecology and evolution), ETH Zurich 2005


  • Asada, K., Nakajima, R., Nishibayashi, T., Ziadi-Künzli, F., Lajbner, Z., Miller, J., Gutnick, T., & Kuba, M. (2021). Improving keeping for octopuses by testing different escape-proof designs on tanks for “big blue octopus” (Octopus cyanea). Applied sciences, 11(15), 8547.
  • Ziadi-Künzli, F., Soliman, T., Imai, H., Sakurai, M., Maeda, K., & Tachihara, K. (2020). Re-evaluation of deep-sea dogfishes (genus Squalus) in Japan using phylogenetic inference. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers: 103261.
  • Ziadi-Künzli, F., & Tachihara, K. (2016). Female defence polygyny and plasticity in the mating system of the demersal triggerfish Rhinecanthus aculeatus (Pisces: Balistidae) from Okinawa Island. Marine Biology, 163(2), 1-17.
  • Künzli, F., & Tachihara, K. (2012). Validation of age and growth of the Picasso triggerfish (Balistidae: Rhinecanthus aculeatus) from Okinawa Island, Japan, using sectioned vertebrae and dorsal spines. Journal of Oceanography, 68(6), 817-829.



  • NHK Okinawa Prefecture News (August 18th, 2021): Children learn about shark ecology - OIST Children's School of Science 2021
  • Ryukyus Shimpo (August 25th, 2021): Importance of sharks in the marine ecosystem - OIST Children's School of Science 2021
  • Asahi Shimbun GLOBE+ (May 29, 2020): In deep water: combatting the extinction of sharks


Fostering Joint International Research (B) (Co-PI), KAKENHI (2018).