I am gay and I am an invertebrate zoologist.//
I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama and Curator of Invertebrates in the Alabama Museum of Natural History. My research is focused on the biodiversity, systematics, and genomics of marine invertebrates – the weirder the better. I found my passion for strange critters as a kid while turning over rocks in my parents’ backyard, and now I get to do it professionally. I feel really privileged in that my work has made it possible for me to travel to the ends of the Earth on Antarctic and Arctic ship-based research expeditions and to over a kilometer below the ocean’s surface in HOV Alvin. Research in the Kocot lab employs both cutting-edge and traditional techniques to characterize biodiversity, formally name ‘new’ species, infer evolutionary relationships, and sequence genomes and transcriptomes to figure out what makes these organisms tick. Being a gay evolutionary biologist in Alabama isn’t always awesome, but I’ve been proud to be the first openly gay instructor many of my students have ever had and I have the privilege of serving as a mentor to a diverse set of amazing students including many in the LGBT community.