Portrait of Dr Martin Carr Dr Martin Carr

View research degree topics that Dr Martin Carr might supervise

m.carr@hud.ac.uk | 01484 471608


I studied Biochemistry and Genetics and then gained a PhD in population genetics at the University of Nottingham. My PhD work led to a long-term interest in transposable elements (a diverse group of genetic parasites found in most organisms). My postdoctoral career took me to the Natural History Museum, London, UCL, York and Leeds, during which time I developed an interest in reconstructing the branching of the Eukaryotic Tree of Life. My main interest is in the eukaryotic supergroup Opisthokonta, which contains the animals, fungi and their single-celled relatives. In particular, I study a group of aquatic protists called the choanoflagellates, which I recently showed to be the sister-group of the animals. This work has yielded important findings on how animals evolved from their unicellular ancestors. Through international collaborations I am currently working on various aspects of opisthokont genomics.

During my time at the Universities of York and Leeds I lectured on bioinformatics, phylogenetics and population genetics. I am a member of the Genetics Society and the British Society of Protist Biology (BSPB). Since 2009 I have been a committee member of the BSPB and I am currently the Society Treasurer.

Research and Scholarship

Protist evolution and the origin of animals.

My focus is predominantly centred on the opisthokonts (the close relatives of animals and fungi). I am currently working on the evolution of the choanoflagellates, the unicellular sister-group of the animals, by using phylogenetic analyses to trace the evolution of morphological, ecological and genomic traits. The work also provides insights into the last common ancestor of the choanoflagellates and animals. 
I am particularly interested in the evolution of sexual reproduction and freshwater/marine transitions within protists. My research also covers the origin of multicellularity in animals and metabolic differences between the choanoflagellates and animals.

Eukaryotic Evolution Group webpage

Genome evolution and the population genetics of transposable elements. 

I am interested in numerous aspects of eukaryotic transposable elements. My main interest is in understanding the evolution of transposable elements in protists, since theory predicts that they should evolve in a different fashion to the multicellular eukaryotes. I am currently studying a taxonomically broad set of unicellular organisms to identify trends in the population dynamics of their transposable elements. I also use whole genome analyses to study the importance of horizontal transfer (in a manner analogous to the transmission of HIV from chimpanzees to humans) in the continued existence of transposable elements in eukaryotic populations.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Handke, J., Procopio, N., Buckley, M., van der Meer, D., Williams, G., Carr, M. and Williams, A. (2017) ‘Successive Bacterial Colonisation of Pork and its Implications for Forensic InvestigationsForensic Science International . ISSN 0379-0738

Warren, A., Patterson, D., Dunthorn, M., Clamp, J., Achilles-Day, U., Aescht, E., Al-Farraj, S., Al-Quraishy, S., Al-Rasheid, K., Carr, M., Day, J., Dellinger, M., El-Serehy, H., Fan, Y., Gao, F., Gao, S., Gong, J., Gupta, R., Hu, X., Kamra, K., Langlois, G., Lin, X., Lipscomb, D., Lobban, C., Luporini, P., Lynn, D., Ma, H., Macek, M., Mackenzie-Dodds, J., Makhija, S., Mansergh, R., Mart�n-Cereceda, M., McMiller, N., Montagnes, D., Nikolaeva, S., Ong'ondo, G., P�rez-Uz, B., Purushothaman, J., Quintela-Alonso, P., Rotterov�, J., Santoferrara, L., Shao, C., Shen, Z., Shi, X., Song, W., Stoeck, T., La Terza, A., Vallesi, A., Wang, M., Weisse, T., Wiackowski, K., Wu, L., Xu, K., Yi, Z., Zufall, R. and Agatha, S. (2017) ‘Beyond the “Code”: A Guide to the Description and Documentation of Biodiversity in Ciliated Protists (Alveolata, Ciliophora)Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology , 64 (4), pp. 539-554. ISSN 10665234

Carr, M., Richter, D., Fozouni, P., Smith, T., Jeuck, A., Leadbeater, B. and Nitsche, F. (2017) ‘A six-gene phylogeny provides new insights into choanoflagellate evolutionMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution , 107, pp. 166-178. ISSN 10557903


Ceriaco, L., Gutierrez, E., Dubois, A. and Carr, M. (2016) ‘Photography-based taxonomy is inadequate, unnecessary, and potentially harmful for biological sciencesZootaxa , 4196 (3), pp. 435-445. ISSN 1175-5326


Carr, M (2015) ‘Report of the 2015 British Society for Protist Biology Spring MeetingEuropean Journal of Protistology , 51 (5), pp. 507-508. ISSN 09324739


Jump, A., Carr, M., Ahrends, A. and Marchant, R. (2014) ‘Genetic Divergence During Long-term Isolation in Highly Diverse Populations of Tropical Trees Across the Eastern Arc Mountains of TanzaniaBiotropica , 46 (5), pp. 565-574. ISSN 00063606

Carr, M. and Suga, H. (2014) ‘The holozoan Capsaspora owczarzaki possesses a diverse complement of active transposable element familiesGenome Biology and Evolution . ISSN 1759-6653

Atkinson, G., Kuzmenko, A., Chicherin, I., Soosaar, A., Tenson, T., Carr, M., Kamenski, P. and Hauryliuk, V. (2014) ‘An evolutionary ratchet leading to loss of elongation factors in eukaryotesBMC Evolutionary Biology , 14 (1), p. 35. ISSN 1471-2148


Costa, M., Pereira, J., Pala, M., Fernandes, V., Olivien, A., Achilli, A., Perego, U., Rychkov, S., Naumova, O., Hatina, J., Woodward, S., Eng, K., Macaulay, V., Carr, M., Soares, P., Pereira, L. and Richards, M. (2013) ‘A substantial prehistoric European ancestry amongst Ashkenazi maternal lineagesNature Communications , 4 (2543). ISSN 2041-1723

Suga, H., Chen, Z., de Mendoza, A., Seb�-Pedr�s, A., Brown, M., Kramer, E., Carr, M., Kerner, P., Vervoort, M., S�nchez-Pons, N., Torruella, G., Derelle, R., Manning, G., Lang, B., Russ, C., Haas, B., Roger, A., Nusbaum, C. and Ruiz-Trillo, I. (2013) ‘The Capsaspora genome reveals a complex unicellular prehistory of animalsNature Communications , 4, pp. 1-9. ISSN 2041-1723

Mellars, P., Gori, K., Carr, M., Soares, P. and Richards, M. (2013) ‘Genetic and archaeological perspectives on the initial modern human colonization of southern AsiaProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 110 (26), pp. 10699-10704. ISSN 0027-8424

Baldauf, S., Romeralo, M. and Carr, M. (2013) ‘The Evolutionary Origin of Animals and Fungi’. In: Evolution from the Galapagos: Two Centuries after Darwin. : Springer. pp. 73-106. ISBN 9781461467328


Carr, M., Bensasson, D. and Bergman, C. (2012) ‘Evolutionary genomics of transposable elements in Saccharomyces cerevisiaePLoS ONE , 7 (11), p. e50978. ISSN 1932-6203


Nitsche, F., Carr, M., Arndt, H. and Leadbeater, B. (2011) ‘Higher Level Taxonomy and Molecular Phylogenetics of the ChoanoflagellateaJournal of Eukaryotic Microbiology , 58 (5), pp. 452-462. ISSN 10665234

Carr, M. and Baldauf, S. (2011) ‘The Protistan Origins of Animals and Fungi’. In: Evolution of Fungi and Fungal-Like Organisms. London: Springer. pp. 3-24. ISBN 978-3-642-19973-8


Kotrba, M., Balke, M. and Carr, M. (2010) ‘The systematic position of Diopsina Curran, 1928 (Diptera: Diopsidae) inferred from DNA sequence dataInsect Systematicsand Evolution , 41 (3), pp. 295-302. ISSN 1399-560X

Carr, M., Mayhew, P. and Young, J. (2010) ‘Phylogeny of bethylid wasps (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) inferred from 28S and 16S rRNA genesInsect Systematics and Evolution , 41 (1), pp. 55-73. ISSN 1399-560X

Carr, M., Leadbeater, B. and Baldauf, S. (2010) ‘Conserved Meiotic Genes Point to Sex in the ChoanoflagellatesJournal of Eukaryotic Microbiology , 57 (1), pp. 56-62. ISSN 10665234


King, N., Young, S., Abedin, M., Carr, M. and Leadbeater, B. (2009) ‘The Choanoflagellates: Heterotrophic Nanoflagellates and Sister Group of the Metazoa’. In: Emerging Model Organisms: A Laboratory Manual. : Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. pp. 1-26. ISBN 978-087969826-3


Carr, M., Nelson, M., Leadbeater, B. and Baldauf, S. (2008) ‘Three Families of LTR Retrotransposons are Present in the Genome of the Choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollisProtist , 159 (4), pp. 579-590. ISSN 14344610

Carr, M., Leadbeater, B., Hassan, R., Nelson, M. and Baldauf, S. (2008) ‘Molecular phylogeny of choanoflagellates, the sister group to MetazoaProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 105 (43), pp. 16641-16646. ISSN 0027-8424

Leadbeater, B., Hassan, R., Nelson, M., Carr, M. and Baldauf, S. (2008) ‘A new genus, Helgoeca gen. nov., for a nudiform choanoflagellateEuropean Journal of Protistology , 44 (3), pp. 227-237. ISSN 09324739

Carr, M (2008) ‘Multiple subfamilies of mariner transposable elements are present in stalk-eyed flies (Diptera: Diopsidae)Genetica , 132 (2), pp. 113-122. ISSN 0016-6707


F�ldv�ri, M., Pomiankowski, A., Cotton, S. and Carr, M. (2007) ‘A morphological and molecular description of a new Teleopsis species (Diptera: Diopsidae) from ThailandZootaxa , 1620, pp. 37-51. ISSN 1175-5326


Carr, M., Cotton, S., Rogers, D., Pomiankowski, A., Smith, H. and Fowler, K. (2006) ‘Assigning sex to pre-adult stalk-eyed flies using genital disc morphology and X chromosome zygosityBMC Developmental Biology , 6 (1), p. 29. ISSN 1471213X

Carr, M., Cotton, S., F�ldv�ri, M. and Kotrba, M. (2006) ‘A description of a new species of Diasemopsis (Diptera, Diopsidae) from the Comoro Islands with morphological, molecular and allometric dataZootaxa , 1211. ISSN 1175-5326


Carr, M., Hurley, I., Fowler, K., Pomiankowski, A. and Smith, H. (2005) ‘Expression of defective proventriculus during head capsule development is conserved in Drosophila and stalk-eyed flies (Diopsidae)Development Genes and Evolution , 215 (8), pp. 402-409. ISSN 0949-944X


Rogers, D., Carr, M. and Pomiankowski, A. (2003) ‘Male genes: X-pelled or X-cluded?BioEssays , 25 (8), pp. 739-741. ISSN 0265-9247


Carr, M., Soloway, J., Robinson, T. and Brookfield, J. (2002) ‘Mechanisms regulating the copy numbers of six LTR retrotransposons in the genome of Drosophila melanogasterChromosoma , 110 (8), pp. 511-518. ISSN 0009-5915


Carr, M., Soloway, J., Robinson, T. and Brookfield, J. (2001) ‘An Investigation of the Cause of Low Variability on the Fourth Chromosome of Drosophila melanogasterMolecular Biology and Evolution , 18 (12), pp. 2260-2269. ISSN 0737-4038

Research Degree Supervision