Current Projects

Collecting snails in California.  Photo credit: Priya Shukla

Summer, 2018

I am currently in Friday Harbor (San Juan Island, Washington) exploring crab feeding behaviour on three closely related species of snails.

Freshly caught red rock crabs ready for some tasty snails!

I will be travelling up and down the coast from Vancouver Island to Oregon and California this summer studying repair scar systems in another snail along the northeaster Pacific coast!

Stay tuned for blog posts, pictures, and more!

November, 2016 – August 2017

I am conducting a major research project at Bodega Marine Laboratory (UC Davis, Bodega Bay, California) in partnership with the Bodega Ocean Acidification Research (BOAR) group, including my local supervisor, Dr. Brian Gaylord, and Drs. Tessa Hill and Eric Sanford.  My experiment involves studying the effects of  decreased water pH on snail shell growth when a predator signal is present (funded by a Vanier Scholarship from NSERC).


I am also working on several other projects/manuscripts, including an examination of encrustation patterns on brachiopod hosts from the Waterways Formation (Givetian – Frasnian, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada), and a review of the stability and maintenance of predator and prey dynamics.

Ongoing Long-Term Projects in the Leighton Lab:

Community Palaeoecology of the Waterways Formation
(Givetian – Frasnian, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada)

I have been extensively involved in our lab’s research on the Devonian of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin across North America (including Alberta, the NWT, Michigan, and Iowa) since 2010.  Much of our work is based on the Waterways Formation that outcrops around Fort McMurray.  We are currently examining brachiopod communities and environmental gradients, the relationship between brachiopod body shape and environment, and the relationship between encrusting organisms and brachiopod hosts.

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre
(Bamfield, British Columbia, Canada)

Bamfield Group Photo
Leighton lab at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, 2013

The Leighton lab has several ongoing projects on modern marine communities at BMSC (I joined the research in 2009).  I am currently involved in projects examining the relationship between snail repair scar frequency, as well as body shape, and crab predation as a proxy for predation in the fossil record.  I have also been involved with an ongoing study examining gradients in benthic rocky intertidal communities, as well as encrusting organisms on scallops.