PI: Kara Layton

Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Marine Biology

School of Biological Sciences

University of Aberdeen

Honorary Curatorial Fellow

Museums & Special Collections

University of Aberdeen

Research Associate

Collections & Research

Western Australian Museum

I received my B.Sc. in Marine and Freshwater Biology and M.Sc. in Integrative Biology from the University of Guelph (Canada). From there, I moved to Perth, Australia for my PhD in Marine Biology at the University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Museum. I then completed a postdoctoral fellowship through the Ocean Frontier Institute at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. 

My research interests are broad but converge on a central theme: how and why is there so much diversity in our oceans?

Outside of work I enjoy hiking, diving and yoga, and I'm often found on a beach with a set of binos and a good stout.

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Ethan Ross
PhD Student

I was awarded my MSci in Biology and Marine Biology from the University of Southampton with my research themes including regeneration, gene evolution and population genetics in marine invertebrates. My QUADRAT PhD project involves producing DNA barcodes for marine invertebrates that inhabit UK seagrass meadows and investigates the use of eDNA metabarcoding as a biodiversity monitoring tool for these habitats. Outside of my research you’ll find me in a swimming pool, attempting to cook, hiking or painting miniatures.

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Victoria Gillman
PhD Student

I received my MSci in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton. During this time, I studied six months each at the University Centre in Svalbard and the University of Gothenburg. For my SUPER PhD project, I am integrating genomics and modelling to investigate reasons for freshwater pearl mussel decline in Scotland. In my free time I like to go on long dog walks, observe fungi and swim in different bodies of open water.


Michelle Taylor
PhD Student

I'm in my first year of a PhD in Marine Biology investigating the function, diversity and connectivity in coral rubble beds. Before this project I have worked on microplastics in fish, marine sponges, crustaceans and sediment, coral recruitment, trends in coral reef herbivores, and various conservation projects. I am also a SCUBA diving instructor and underwater photographer, and have collectively spent almost three months underwater!


Zalina Bashir
PhD Student

Before coming to Aberdeen, I studied the predatory relationship between blacktip reef sharks and turtle hatchlings while working for a sea turtle research unit in Malaysia. As part of my PhD, I will collect data on shark dispersal and use it to spatially model the efficiency of different marine protected area layouts for shark conservation and investigate how we can improve this. One of my favourite recent memories is spending the better part of a year caring for rescued primates at an animal sanctuary in South Africa.


Simon Loughran
PhD Student

The evolution of the honeybee waggle dance
Lead supervisor: Fabio Manfredini

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Honours Students

Charlotte Walker: Comparative transcriptomics for studying aposematic colour evolution in shell-less gastropods

Jessica Palmer: What is the effect of tourism on marine ecosystems in Kaua’i, Hawai’i? 


Lab alumni

Brodie Thomas, MSc: An integrative approach to understanding colour variation in the European sea lemon

Corinne McElhinney, MSc: Predicting the distribution of a solar-powered sea slug

Silvia Prieto, MSci:  How do prey preference and chemical acquisition shape dorid nudibranch phylogeny?


Join the Lab

Thank you for your interest in my lab. Prospective postdoctoral, graduate and honours candidates are welcome to contact me to discuss project ideas and funding availability. I'm happy to support external fellowship and scholarship opportunities for interested candidates.

Please check the Opportunities tab for available positions in my lab.