Staff Profile
Gail Ashton field research


Research Interests:

Gail is a marine benthic ecologist focusing on hard substrate communities. Her work spans tropical to polar latitudes in an attempt to understand the effect of anthropogenic impacts on marine communities. Her interests include: the distribution and dispersal of marine invertebrates; factors determining the settlement and establishment of fouling communities; phylogenetic analysis of population distributions and introduction pathways; and the influence of the physical environment on the success of invertebrate species.

Education & Employment:

2009-present: Ecologist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Tiburon, CA

2013-present: Research Associate, British Antarctic Survey, Rothera, Antarctica

2007-2009: Postdoctoral fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD & Tiburon, CA

2003-2006: PhD in Marine Ecology, Scottish Association for Marine Science, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

2000-2003: BSc in Marine Biology, University of Wales, Swansea.


Ashton GV, Davidson IC, Geller J, Ruiz GM (2016) Disentangling the biogeography of ship biofouling: barnacles in the Northeast Pacific. Global Ecology and Biogeography

Hughes KA, Ashton GV (2016) Breaking the ice: the introduction of biofouling organisms to Antarctica on vessel hulls. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Zabin CJ, Ashton GV, Brown CW, Davidson IC, Sytsma MD, Ruiz GM (2014) Small boats provide connectivity for nonindigenous marine species between a highly invaded international port and nearby coastal harbors. Management of Biological Invasions 5:97-112

Ros M, Ashton GV et al (2014) The Panama Canal and the transoceanic dispersal of marine invertebrates: Evaluation of the introduced amphipod Paracaprella pusilla Mayer, 1890 in the Pacific Ocean. Marine Environmental Research 99:204-211

Ashton GV, Davidson ID, Ruiz GM (2013) Transient small boats as a long-distance coastal vector for dispersal of biofouling organisms. Estuaries and Coasts 37:1572-1581

Williams SL, Davidson IC, Pasari JR, Ashton GV, Carlton JT, Crafton RE, Fontana RE, Grosholz ED, Miller AW, Ruiz GM, Zabin CJ (2013) Managing multiple vectors for marine invasions in an increasingly connected world. BioScience 63:952-966

McCann LD, Holzer KK, Davidson ID, Ashton GV, Chapman MD, Ruiz GM (2013) Promoting  invasive species control and eradication in the sea: Options for managing the tunicate invader Didemnum vexillum in Sitka, Alaska. Marine Pollution Bulletin 77:165-171

Ruiz G, Fofonoff P, Ashton GV, Minton M & Miller W (2013) Geographic variation in marine invasions among large estuaries: Effects of ships and time. Ecological Applications 22:311-320

Boos K, Ashton GV, Cook EJ (2011) The Japanese skeleton shrimp (Caprella mutica Schurin, 1935, Crustacea, Amphipoda) in European coastal waters. In: In the wrong place: Alien marine crustaceans- distribution, biology and impacts. Galil P, Clark P. Springer pp 129-156

Ashton GV, Burrows MT, Willis KJ, Cook EJ (2010) Seasonal population dynamics of the non-native Caprella mutica (Crustacea, Amphipoda) on the west coast of Scotland. Marine and Freshwater Research 61: 549-559

Cook EJ, Ashton GV, Shucksmith R Orr H, Berge J (2009) Fatty acid composition as a dietary indicator of the invasive caprellid, Caprella mutica (Crustacea: Amphipoda). Marine Biology 157: 19-27

Willis KJ, Woods CMC, Ashton GV (2009) Caprella mutica in the southern hemisphere: distribution, Atlantic origins and year-round reproduction of an alien marine amphipod in New Zealand. Aquatic Biology 7 (3) 249-259

Zabin CJ, Ashton GV, Brown CW, Ruiz GM (2009) Northern range expansion of the Asian kelp Undaria pinnatifida (Harvey) Suringar (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae) in western North America. Aquatic Invasions 4 (3) 429-434

Ashton GV, Riedlecker EI, Ruiz GM (2008) First non-native crustacean established in coastal waters of Alaska. Aquatic Biology 3: 133-137

Riedlecker EI, Ashton GV, Ruiz GM (2008) Geometric morphometric analysis discriminates native and non-native species of Caprellidae in western North America. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK 89 (3) 535–542

Ashton GV, Stevens MI, Hart MC, Green DH, Burrows MT, Cook EJ, Willis KJ (2008) Mitochondrial DNA reveals multiple northern hemisphere introductions of Caprella mutica (Crustacea, Amphipoda). Molecular Ecology 17 (5) 1293-1303

Cook EJ, Jahnke M, Kerckhof F, Minchin D, Faasse M, Boos K, Ashton G (2008) European expansion of the introduced amphipod Caprella mutica Schurin 1935. Aquatic Invasions 2 (4) 411-421

Cook EJ, Ashton G, Campbell M, Coutts A, Gollasch S, Hewitt C, Liu H, Minchin D, Ruiz G & Shucksmith R (2008) Non-native Aquaculture Species Releases: Implications for Aquatic Ecosystems. In: Aquaculture in the Ecosystem. Holmer M, Black K, Duarte CM, Marb N, Karakassis I (eds). 155 – 184 pp. Springer. ISBN-13: 978-1-4020-6809-6

Ashton GV, Willis KJ, Cook EJ & Burrows MT (2007) Distribution of the introduced amphipod, Caprella mutica (Schurin, 1935) on the west coast of Scotland and a review of its global distribution. Hydrobiologia 590 (1) 31-41

Ashton GV, Willis KJ, Burrows MT & Cook EJ (2007) Environmental tolerance of Caprella mutica: Implications for its distribution as a marine non-native species. Marine Environmental Research 64 (3) 305-312

Ashton GV, Boos K, Shucksmith R & Cook EJ (2006) Rapid assessment of the distribution of marine non-native species in marinas in Scotland. Aquatic Invasions 1 (4) 209-213

Ashton GV, Boos K, Shucksmith R & Cook EJ (2006) Risk assessment of hull fouling as a vector for marine non-native species in Scotland Aquatic Invasions 1 (4) 214-218