Cayne Layton

UTAS Home Dr Cayne Layton

Cayne Layton

Postdoctoral Research Fellow & Lecturer

Room Level 2 , IMAS Hobart Waterfront Building

+61 413188964 (phone)

Cayne Layton is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow & Lecturer at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. He studies the ecology and restoration of kelp forests and temperate reef systems. Cayne combines field and lab experiments, and scientific diving to examine how kelp forest ecosystems function and persist, especially in the face of increasing anthropogenic stressors. He seeks to answer fundamental ecological questions while ensuring his research has practical applications for habitat conservation, restoration, and management. Cayne is also an active science communicator and has a keen interest in scientific/research diving, and the engagement of science with education and policy.


Cayne completed his PhD at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, researching the population and community ecology of Ecklonia radiata kelp forests. This project centered around several long-term field experiments and involved over 400 hours of diving. Cayne’s passion for temperate reef ecology and scientific diving brought him to the University of Tasmania from the Australian National University, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in science with honours (majoring in Zoology and Ecology & Evolution) and worked as a research assistant.

Cayne’s research actively engages with a variety of partners, including NGOs, Aboriginal organisations, industry, and government. He is a member of the NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub, and the Hidden Deserts, Marine Forests, and OzFish citizen science initiatives

Career summary



Resilience and stability of Ecklonia radiata kelp forests: the importance of intraspecific facilitation and patch dynamics

University of Tasmania



BSc (1st Class Hons)

Swimming activities and costs in free-living coral reef wrasses

Australian National University




Professional practice

Australian Marine Science Association

Ecological Society of Australia

Marine Biodiversity Hub, NESP

Australasian Society of Phycology and Aquatic Botany

Society for Ecological Restoration


Unit Coordinator for Masters course - Literature Review

Teaching responsibility

  • Unit Coordinator for Masters course - Literature Review
  • Former Demonstrator for the courses Marine Ecology, Quantitative Methods in Biology, and Marine and Antarctic Ecosystems

View more on Dr Cayne Layton in WARP


Conservation and Biodiversity (050202)

Ecological Impacts of Climate Change (050101)

Ecological Physiology (060203)

Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change (960305)

Ecosystem Function (050102)

Community Ecology (060202)

Environmental Rehabilitation (050207)

Marine and Estuarine Ecology (060205)

Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity (960808)

Phycology (060701)

Population Ecology (060207)

Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics (060411)

Rehabilitation of Degraded Coastal and Estuarine Environments (961201)

Research Themes

Cayne’s research aligns with the University’s research themes of ‘Marine, Antarctic and Maritime’ and ‘Environment, Resources and Sustainability’. His research focusses on how temperate marine ecosystems (especially kelp forests) function, and how they respond to climate change and other anthropogenic stressors. His broader research interests include facilitation and niche theories, and habitat stability and resilience. Cayne also utilises physiology and genetics research to improve understanding of ecological outcomes and mechanisms. His work also focusses on restoration of kelp forest ecosystems, and kelp aquaculture and Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture.


Cayne is currently involved in collaborations with researchers in Chile, New Zealand, Spain and the USA. Domestically, Cayne has collaborators at Deakin University, Melbourne University, Southern Cross University, University of Western Australia and UNSW.

Current projects

  • Assessing the potential for restoration and permaculture of Tasmania’s giant kelp forests
  • The role of restoration in conserving matters of national environmental significance
  • Restoring kelp habitat in Australia

Fields of Research

  • Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) (310305)
  • Environmental rehabilitation and restoration (410405)
  • Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology) (310302)
  • Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation (410102)
  • Fish pests and diseases (300503)
  • Ecosystem function (410203)
  • Natural resource management (410406)
  • Conservation and biodiversity (410401)
  • Ecological applications (410299)
  • Global change biology (319902)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture (450104)
  • Social and cultural anthropology (440107)
  • Phycology (incl. marine grasses) (310801)
  • Environmental management (410404)
  • Bioremediation (410303)

Research Objectives

  • Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems (180201)
  • Rehabilitation or conservation of coastal or estuarine environments (180206)
  • Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems (180601)
  • Marine biodiversity (180504)
  • Coastal or estuarine biodiversity (180203)
  • Ecosystem adaptation to climate change (190102)
  • Coastal and estuarine systems and management (180299)
  • Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences (280102)
  • Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments (180507)
  • Terrestrial biodiversity (180606)
  • Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts) (190504)
  • Other environmental management (189999)
  • Climate adaptive plants (269901)
  • Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture (210407)
  • Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem) (190101)
  • Social impacts of climate change and variability (190103)
  • Environmental education and awareness (190203)
  • Wild caught edible molluscs (100304)


Total publications


Journal Article

(12 outputs)
2021Bax N, Novaglio C, Maxwell KH, Meyers K, McCann J, et al., 'Ocean resource use: building the coastal blue economy', Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries pp. 1-20. ISSN 0960-3166 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11160-021-09636-0 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3

Co-authors: Bax N; Novaglio C; Jennings S; Frusher S; Fulton EA; Anderson K; Emad GR; Alexander KA; Rousseau Y; Carter CG


2020Layton C, Cameron MJ, Tatsumi M, Shelamoff V, Wright JT, et al., 'Habitat fragmentation causes collapse of kelp recruitment', Marine Ecology Progress Series, 648 pp. 111-123. ISSN 0171-8630 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3354/meps13422 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Cameron MJ; Tatsumi M; Shelamoff V; Wright JT; Johnson CR


2020Layton C, Coleman MA, Marzinelli EM, Steinberg PD, Swearer SE, et al., 'Kelp forest restoration in Australia', Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, (FEB) Article 74. ISSN 2296-7745 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00074 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 31Web of Science - 35

Co-authors: Johnson CR


2020Morris RL, Hale R, Strain EMA, Reeves SE, Verges A, et al., 'Key principles for managing recovery of kelp forests through restoration', Bioscience, 70, (8) pp. 688-698. ISSN 0006-3568 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biaa058 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Strain EMA; Shelamoff V


2020Shelamoff V, Layton C, Tatsumi M, Cameron MJ, Wright JT, et al., 'High kelp density attracts fishes except for recruiting cryptobenthic species', Marine Environmental Research, 161 Article 105127. ISSN 0141-1136 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2020.105127 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Shelamoff V; Tatsumi M; Cameron MJ; Wright JT; Edgar GJ; Johnson CR


2019Layton C, Cameron MJ, Shelamoff V, Fernandez PA, Britton D, et al., 'Chemical microenvironments within macroalgal assemblages: implications for the inhibition of kelp recruitment by turf algae', Limnology and Oceanography, 64, (4) pp. 1600-1613. ISSN 0024-3590 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/lno.11138 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 10

Co-authors: Cameron MJ; Shelamoff V; Fernandez PA; Britton D; Hurd CL; Wright JT; Johnson CR


2019Layton C, Shelamoff V, Cameron MJ, Tatsumi M, Wright JT, et al., 'Resilience and stability of kelp forests: the importance of patch dynamics and environment-engineer feedbacks', PLoS ONE, 14, (1) Article e0210220. ISSN 1932-6203 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210220 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 30Web of Science - 30

Co-authors: Shelamoff V; Cameron MJ; Tatsumi M; Wright JT; Johnson CR


2019Shelamoff V, Layton C, Tatsumi M, Cameron MJ, Edgar GJ, et al., 'Kelp patch size and density influence secondary productivity and diversity of epifauna', Oikos, 129, (3) pp. 331-345. ISSN 0030-1299 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/oik.06585 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Shelamoff V; Tatsumi M; Cameron MJ; Edgar GJ; Wright JT; Johnson CR


2019Shelamoff V, Layton C, Tatsumi M, Cameron MJ, Wright JT, et al., 'Ecosystem engineering by a canopy-forming kelp facilitates the recruitment of native oysters', Restoration Ecology, 27, (6) pp. 1442-1451. ISSN 1061-2971 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/rec.13019 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Shelamoff V; Tatsumi M; Cameron MJ; Wright JT; Johnson CR


2019Shelamoff V, Layton C, Tatsumi M, Cameron MJ, Wright JT, et al., 'Patch size and density of canopy-forming kelp modify influences of ecosystem engineering on understorey algal and sessile invertebrate assemblages', Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 632 pp. 59-79. ISSN 0171-8630 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3354/meps13155 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Shelamoff V; Tatsumi M; Cameron MJ; Wright JT; Johnson CR


2014Layton C, Fulton CJ, 'Status-dependent foraging behaviour in coral reef wrasses', Coral Reefs, 33, (2) pp. 345-349. ISSN 0722-4028 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00338-014-1138-1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 7


2013Binning SA, Roche DG, Layton C, 'Ectoparasites increase swimming costs in a coral reef fish', Biology Letters, 9, (1) Article 20120927. ISSN 1744-9561 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0927 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 44Web of Science - 43


Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
2018McLeod IM, Bostrom-Einarsson L, Johnson CR, Kendrick G, Layton C, et al., 'The role of restoration for conserving matters of national environmental significance in marine and coastal environments', Report to the National Environmental Science Programme, Marine Biodiversity Hub, Hobart, Tasmania, 18 December 2018, Milestone 3 (2018) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Johnson CR


Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



TNC Kelp Conservation Project (2021 - 2022)$114,450
IMAS-UTAS & TNC have forged a partnership to research and better understand the decline and restoration of giant kelp(Macrocystis pyrifera) in Tasmania. Some of the work is a continuation and extension of previously funded projects at IMAS (e.g. giant kelp breedingand outplanting), whilst novel elements include predictive modelling and quantitative assessment of giant kelp distribution in Tasmania, along withcoordination between project workers and TNC partners on the production of a global kelp restoration guidebook.
The Nature Conservancy ($114,450)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Layton C; Johnson CR
2021 - 2022
NRM South Giant kelp biodiversity (2020 - 2022)$40,000
Dense giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) forests were previously a conspicuous and iconic feature of the Tasmanian coast, but loss of ~95% of these giant kelp forests over the past several decades has seen them listed by the Australian Government as an endangered marine community. Active restoration of these degraded and disappearing habitats represents a potential approach for conservation of giant kelp forests. This project will leverage from the larger IMAS Giant Kelp restoration project, and specifically, will monitor and examine the reestablishment of biodiversity within the restored patches of giant kelp. The project will also provide training support to community groups and/or seafood industry stakeholders in kelp cultivation, and technical advice for development of school and community educational resources regarding giant kelp restoration.
Southern Regional Natural Resource Management Association Inc ($40,000)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Layton C
2020 - 2022
Palawa Shell Necklace Practice and Ocean Change: Climate Change and Aboriginal Culture (2020)$15,225
The health and wellbeing of the Lutruwita Aboriginal community are connected to practice of making necklaces from maireener shells, and although the end product is beautiful and has been displayed in art galleries globally, to the Lutruwita Aboriginal women who uphold this practice the most important thing is the process they take to get there. Over the last decade Elders have noticed a change in abundance and shell thickness of the maireener shells changes that are consistent with scientists expectations under climate change. We propose oral histories be recorded to robustly document the important shifts observed in these culturally valuable species. There is little mention of these species in any other studies (Indigenous or western science) despite their immense value to the community. We propose the collection and analysis of oral histories to develop baseline data on this culturally critical species, to 1) help establish any contemporary climate change impacts, 2) indicate any required future scientific studies, and 3) provide the basis for developing future adaptation options.
Department of Premier and Cabinet ($15,225)
Climate Research Grants Program
Administered By
Department of Premier and Cabinet
Research Team
Fischer M; Layton C; Peacock HT; Greeno DM; Pecl GT
Restoration and permaculture of giant kelp forests in Tasmania (2018 - 2019)$235,537
Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) forests were previously a conspicuous and iconic feature of the eastern Tasmanian coast, but loss of ~95% of dense surface canopies has seen giant kelp forests listed as an endangered marine community in Australia. The collapse of giant forests is associated with ocean warming and the increased influence of warm East Australian Current water in eastern Tasmania. Nonetheless scattered healthy individual giant kelps persist. This project is focussed on identifying warm tolerant genotypes, and means to restore dense surface canopy stands of giant kelp that are self-replenishing and self-expanding. This research will also aid development of giant kelp for commercial harvest and as a means to ameliorate nitrogen input from fish farms in an integrated multi-trophic aquaculture setting.
Climate Foundation ($235,537)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Johnson CR; Layton C; Wright JT
2018 - 2019
Fish and invertebrate recruitment in response to varying kelp habitat population dynamics (2014 - 2016)$22,000
The project aims to achieve a broader understanding of how aspects of kelp population dynamics (density and habitat patch size) may influence the recruitment of associated invertebrate and fish species. This information will help to fill a gap in existing knowledge of the links between kelp community health and the biodiversity and productivity of kelp reef habitats as a whole.
Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment ($22,000)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Johnson CR; Wright JT; Layton C; Cameron MJ
2014 - 2016