Michelle L. Taylor

Postdoctoral Researcher - Deep Sea Ecology and Genetics


Research Interests

My current research is focused on the benthic ecosystems found on seamounts in the southwest Indian Ocean. I am specifically interested in connectivity of deep-sea fauna, their evolution, and speciation. So far my work has focused on deep-sea corals; which was a natural progression from my years spent studying shallow water coral reefs.

Genetics are my tool of choice for targeting questions about evolution and speciation. My work so far has involved phylogenetics and barcoding but the future involves population genetics and next-generation sequencing.

A species level designation is the primary building block required for a plethora of biodiversity, phylogenetic, and connectivity studies. This makes taxonomy absolutely crucial. A portion of my PhD was dedicated to studying deep-sea octocoral taxonomy and I try to devote some of my time to teaching students these essential identification skills. Deep-sea science needs more taxonomists; in octocorals, and many other taxa, barcoding is simply not up to the task. With increasingly frequent and widespread human encroachments into the deep, studies in this arena (fisheries are my primary area of interest in this regard) are required now more than ever.

Additional Information

Diving, photography, cooking, volleyball, and making sloe gin....



Email: michelle.taylor@zoo.ox.ac.uk



Selected Publications


    Yesson, C., Tittensor, D.P., Taylor, M.L., Davies, A.J., Guinotte, J. Black, Hall-Spencer, J., Baco-Taylor, A., Rogers, A.D. 2012. Global distribution and habitat preferences of deep-water octocorals.Journal of Biogeography.

    Taylor, M.L., Cairns, S.D., Agnew, D.J. and Rogers, A.D. in press. A revision of the genus ThouarellaGray, 1870 (Octocorallia: Primnoidae), including illustrated artificial key, species redescriptions and a new species description. Zootaxa.

    Yesson, C., Clark, M.R., Taylor, M.L., Rogers, A.D. 2011. The global distribution of seamounts based on 30-second bathymetry data, Deep-Sea Research Part I, 58(4): 442-453.

    Wabnitz, C.C.C., Taylor, M.L., Green. E., and Razak, T. 2003. From Ocean to Aquaria: The Global Trade in Live Marine Ornamentals. UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK.

    Green, E. and Short, F. 2003. World Atlas of Seagrasses. Cartographer, C. Ravilious, Scientific editor, M. Taylor. University of California Press, USA. 304 pp.

    Spalding, M., Taylor, M., Ravilious, C. Short, F. and Green, E. 2003. Global overview: The Distribution and Status of Seagrasses. In, E. Green, and F, Short. World Atlas of Seagrasses. University of California Press, USA, pp.13-34.

    Taylor, M., Ravilious, C. and Green, E.P. 2003. Mangroves of East Africa. UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK. 24pp.

    Brooks, S., Spencer, T., Teleki, K. and Taylor, M. 2002. International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) European Meeting, 4th-7th September 2002, Cambridge U.K. Abstracts volume.