Dr Kara Layton

Dr Kara Layton
BSc, MSc, PhD


Dr Kara Layton
Dr Kara Layton

Contact Details



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 and Affiliations

Professional Member, The Marine Biological Association


Research Areas


  • Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Zoology
  • Molecular Biology

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

Research Overview

My research uses integrative approaches to understand how and why there is so much diversity in our oceans, and how climate change will impact this diversity. I investigate patterns of biodiversity and the evolutionary processes driving this diversity using field work, museum collections, genomic tools, phylogenetic inference, population genetics, microscopy and ecological modelling. I am particularly interested in investigating i) the evolution of warning colouration and mimicry in nudibranchs, ii) the evolution of parasitism in marine gastropods and iii) climate-linked biodiversity loss in our oceans.

Research 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: Fundamentals of Marine Biology (BI25Z5), Diversity of Life 1 & 2 (BI1012, BI1512)





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  • Genomic basis of deep-water adaptation in Arctic Charr (Salvelinus alpinus) morphs

    Kess, T., Dempson, J. B., Lehnert, S. J., Layton, K., Einfeldt, A., Bentzen, P., Salisbury, S. J., Messmer, A., Duffy, S., Ruzzante, D., Nugent, C. M., Ferguson, M., Leong, J. S., Koop, B. F., O'Connell, M., Bradbury, I. R.

    Molecular Ecology, vol. 30, no. 18, pp. 4415-4432

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • A putative structural variant and environmental variation associated with genomic divergence across the Northwest Atlantic in Atlantic Halibut

    Kess, T., Einfeldt, A., Wringe, B., Lehnert, S., Layton, K., McBride, M., Robert, D., Fisher, J., Le Bris, A., den Heyer, C., Shackell, N., Ruzzante, D., Bentzen, P., Bradbury, I. R.

    ICES Journal of Marine Science, fsab061

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Genomic evidence of past and future climate-linked loss in a migratory Arctic fish

    Layton, K., Snelgrove, P., Dempson, J. B., Kess, T., Lehnert, S., Bentzen, P., Duffy, S., Messmer, A., Stanley, R., DiBacco, C., Salisbury, S., Ruzzante, D., Nugent, C., Ferguson, M., Leong, J., Koop, B., Bradbury, I.

    Nature Climate Change, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 158-165

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Life in a drop: Sampling environmental DNA for marine fishery management and ecosystem monitoring

    Gilbey, J., Carvalho, G., Castilho, R., Cosica, I., Coulson, M., Dahle, G., Derycke, S., Francisco, S., Heylar, S., Johansen, T., Junge, C., Layton, K., Martinsohn, J., Matejusova, I., Robalo, J., Rodríguez-Ezpeleta, N., Silva, G., Strammer, I., Vasemagi, A., Volckaert, F.

    Marine Policy, vol. 124, 104331

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Limited genetic parallelism underlies recent, repeated incipient speciation in geographically proximate populations of an Arctic fish (Salvelinus alpinus)

    Salisbury, S. J., McCracken, G. R., Perry, R., Keefe, D., Layton, K., Kess, T., Nugent, C. M., Leong, J. S., Bradbury, I. R., Koop, B. F., Ferguson, M. M., Ruzzante, D. E.

    Molecular Ecology, vol. 29, no. 22, pp. 4280-4294

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Resolving fine-scale population structure and fishery exploitation using sequenced microsatellites in a northern fish

    Layton, K. K. S., Dempson, B., Snelgrove, P. V. R., Duffy, S. J., Messmer, A. M., Paterson, I. G., Jeffery, N. W., Kess, T., Horne, J. B., Salisbury, S. J., Ruzzante, D. E., Bentzen, P., Côté, D., Nugent, C. M., Ferguson, M. M., Leong, J. S., Koop, B. F., Bradbury, I. R.

    Evolutionary Applications, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 1055-1068

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Model-based evaluation of the genetic impacts of farm-escaped Atlantic salmon on wild populations

    Bradbury, I. R., Duffy, S., Lehnert, S., Johannsson, R., Fridriksson, J. H., Castellani, M., Burgetz, I., Sylvester, E., Messmer, A., Layton, K., Kelly, N., Dempson, J. B., Fleming, I.

    Aquaculture Environment Interactions, vol. 12, pp. 45-59

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • A reference library for Canadian invertebrates with 1.5 million barcodes, voucher specimens, and DNA samples

    deWaard, J. R., Ratnasingham, S., Zakharov, E. V., Borisenko, A. V., Steinke, D., Telfer, A. C., Perez, K. H. J., Sones, J. E., Young, M. R., Levesque-Beaudin, V., Sobel, C. N., Abrahamyan, A., Bessonov, K., Blagoev, G., deWaard, S. L., Ho, C., Ivanova, N. V., Layton, K. K. S., Lu, L., Manjunath, R., McKeown, J. T. A., Milton, M. A., Miskie, R., Monkhouse, N., Naik, S., Nikolova, N., Pentinsaari, M., Prosser, S. W. J., Radulovici, A. E., Steinke, C., Warne, C. P., Hebert, P. D. N.

    Scientific Data, vol. 6, 308

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

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