Layla Creac'h wearing a hardhat and high-visiblity vest

Layla Creac’h

Muddy Time Machine

PhD Candidate, Marine Chemistry
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies,
University of Tasmania

The ocean is a like a huge soup of chemicals, that has been mixing forever. I am a marine chemist, and the ocean is my natural laboratory.

I grew up in France and came all the way to Tasmania to study the very special Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica. I had to learn a new language, get used to wallabies in my garden, huntsman spiders in my house, and people eating crazy things like vegemite and chicken parmis. But it was worth it, as I now get to study the coldest and coolest natural laboratory ever!

I am especially interested in marine sediment – which is basically mud – from the Southern Ocean. What is very special about this mud, is that it allows me to travel back in time! The chemical elements preserved in this mud allow me to reconstruct what happened to the ocean from a few hundred up to a million years ago! One thing I love about this job is that it is very diverse: I get to work on a boat (to collect samples); in a chemistry lab (to analyse these samples) and on a computer (to analyse the results obtained in the lab). I also love meeting with other scientists of the institute and having endless conversations about the different things they do.

In my spare time I love exploring the ocean in a different way: boating and scuba-diving. When the weather is not so good, I like to hang out with my friends and eat a lot of cheese.


Follow Layla on Twitter: @laylacreach