Dr Kara Layton

Dr Kara Layton
Dr Kara Layton

Dr Kara Layton

BSc, MSc, PhD


Accepting PhDs


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

At the broadest level, my research seeks to understand how and why is there so much diversity in our oceans. My group uses genomic tools to resolve systematic and biogeographic patterns in marine invertebrates, to identify drivers of marine speciation and adaptation and to predict how biodiversity will respond to future climate change. We also have a particular interest in improving genomic resources for marine invertebrates (especially molluscs) and in continuing efforts to document global biodiversity.

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Biological and Environmental Sciences.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me

Biological and Environmental Sciences

Accepting PhDs

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.

Current Research

The evolution of nudibranch colour

Molluscan systematics and phylogenomics

DNA barcoding & eDNA metabarcoding

Using genomics to predict climate change response

The genomic basis of adaptation



My current supervision areas are: Biological and Environmental Sciences.

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)