Dr Kara Layton
Dr Kara Layton

Dr Kara Layton

BSc, MSc, PhD



School of Biological Sciences
University of Aberdeen
Tillydrone Avenue
Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ



2020: Lecturer in Marine Biology, University of Aberdeen

2019-2020: Postdoctoral Fellow, Ocean Frontier Institute and Bedford Institute of Oceanography

2015-2018: PhD (Marine Biology), University of Western Australia

2010-2013: MSc (Integrative Biology), University of Guelph

2005-2009: BSc (Marine & Freshwater Biology), University of Guelph

External Memberships

Professional Member, The Marine Biological Association


Research Overview

My research uses field and lab systems alongside genetic and genomic tools to understand how and why there is so much diversity in our oceans, and how climate change will impact this diversity. This involves resolving systematic and biogeographic patterns in marine taxa, identifying drivers of marine speciation and adaptation, predicting how biodiversity will respond to future climate change and continuing efforts to document global biodiversity. I also have a particular interest in improving genomic resources for marine invertebrates.

Research Areas

Biological and Environmental Sciences

Research Specialisms

  • Ecology
  • Marine Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Evolution
  • Genomics

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.


Lead supervisor:

Ethan Ross, PhD candidate: Establishing marine biodiversity baselines for seagrass habitats in the UK

Victoria Gillman, PhD candidate: Integrating genomics and modelling to predict climate change response in endangered freshwater pearl mussels

Michelle Taylor, PhD candidate: Investigating diversity and connectivity in understudied marine ecosystems: novel insights into Caribbean coral rubble beds 

Zalina Bashir, PhD candidate: Modelling the efficiency of different MPA layouts for shark conservation

Funding and Grants

Internal Funding to Pump-Prime Interdisciplinary Research (2021). An interdisciplinary approach to generate a paradigm shift in characterizing biodiversity. £7,780

MASTS Emerging From Lockdown Award (2021). Integrating genomics and metabolomics to understand climate change response in marine species. £5,000

The Natural Environment Research Council- NERC QUADRAT PhD Studentship Grant (2021). Establishing marine biodiversity baselines for blue carbon habitats. £95,000

The Natural Environment Research Council- NERC SUPER PhD Studentship Grant (2020). Integrating genomics and modelling to predict climate change response and identify drivers of decline in the endangered freshwater pearl mussel. £76,996.50

European Marine Biological Resource Centre- ASSEMBLE+ Transnational Access Grant (2020). Illuminating nudibranch biodiversity in an Atlantic hotspot. £7,000


Teaching Responsibilities

Course Coordinator: Marine Biodiversity (ZO4820/ZO5820)

Course Contributor: Ecological Genomics (BI3312), Fundamentals of Marine Biology (BI25Z5), 
Diversity of Life 2 (BI1512)


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