• 186 Citations
  • 8 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research expertise

My broad research interests encompass the effects of environmental change, predominantly ocean acidification and increasing temperature, on marine benthic systems.  I am particularly interested in the effects of future oceans on coastal and intertidal sediments, with a focus on the role of microphytobenthos in biogeochemical cycling under predicted future scenarios.

My current research is examining the potential impacts of a CO2 leak from a carbon capture storage (CCS) site, to ascertain changes in benthic biogeochemistry, and, in collaboration with colleagues from Norway, Greece and Durham, to identify changes in the benthic microbial community. This project (http://www.mn.uio.no/cees/english/research/projects/143935/) brings together researchers from SAMS, University of Oslo, University of Durham and National Technical University of Athens. 

My ocean acidification research formed part of the UK Ocean Acidification (UKOA) research programme (http://ocean-acidification.org.uk/) conducted in the benthic consortium (http://www.benthic-acidification.org/). This work combined the effects of ocean acidification, together with warming, on key benthic biogeochemical processes, such as sediment-water oxygen flux, oxygen consumption/production, nutrient cycling and primary production. This work led to the development of the SAMS flume facility, now used for a variety of CO2 based projects (both ocean acidification and carbon capture storage).

Previous research

My PhD work (joint with University of St Andrews and Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen) focused on determining the effects of elevated CO2 and temperature on benthic primary production under different macrofaunal diversity levels, thus incorporating two trophic levels and examining the role of diversity under changing climatic variables.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of St Andrews

Award Date: 1 Jan 2011

Bachelor of Science, The University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2007


  • Marine Processes and Climate
  • Ocean acidification
  • climate change
  • benthic biogeochemistry
  • elevated temperature
  • microphytobenthos
  • nutrient cycling
  • primary production
  • biodiversity
  • multiple stressors

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Research Output

Carbon on the Northwest European Shelf: Contemporary Budget and Future Influences

Legge, O., Johnson, M., Hicks, N., Jickells, T., Diesing, M., Aldridge, J., Andrews, J., Artioli, Y., Bakker, D. C. E., Burrows, M. T., Carr, N., Cripps, G., Felgate, S. L., Fernand, L., Greenwood, N., Hartman, S., Kröger, S., Lessin, G., Mahaffey, C., Mayor, D. J. & 11 others, Parker, R., Queirós, A. M., Shutler, J. D., Silva, T., Stahl, H., Tinker, J., Underwood, G. J. C., Van Der Molen, J., Wakelin, S., Weston, K. & Williamson, P., 18 Mar 2020, In : Frontiers in Marine Science. 7, 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
    16 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 145 Downloads (Pure)

    Review of the environmental impacts of salmon farming in Scotland

    Tett, P., Benjamins, S., Black, K., Coulson, M., Davidson, K., Fernandes, T. F., Fox, C., Hart, M., Hicks, N., Hughes, A., Hunter, D. C., Nickell, T., Risch, D., Tocher, D., Vare, L., Verspoor, E., Wilding, T., Wilson, B. & Wittich, A., 5 Mar 2018, 196 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Open Access
  • 358 Downloads (Pure)

    Short-term CO2 exposure and temperature rise effects on metazoan meiofauna and free-living nematodes in sandy and muddy sediments: Results from a flume experiment

    Ingels, J., dos Santos, G., Hicks, N., Valdes Vazquez, Y., Fernandes Neres, P., Pereira Pontes, L., Nataly Amorim, M., Roman, S., Du, Y., Stahl, H., Somerfield, P. J. & Widdicombe, S., May 2018, In : Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 502, p. 211 226 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 9 Citations (Scopus)
    215 Downloads (Pure)

    Temperature Driven Changes in Benthic Bacterial Diversity Influences Biogeochemical Cycling in Coastal Sediments

    Hicks, N., Liu, X., Gregory, R., Kenny, J., Lucaci, A., Lenzi, L., Paterson, D. M. & Duncan, K. R., 22 Aug 2018, In : Frontiers in Microbiology. 9, 14 p., 1730.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 7 Citations (Scopus)
    131 Downloads (Pure)

    An approach for the identification of exemplar sites for scaling up targeted field observations of benthic biogeochemistry in heterogeneous environments

    Thompson, C. E., Silburn, B., Williams, M. E., Hull, T., Sivyer, D., Amoudry, L. O., Widdicombe, S., Ingels, J., Carnovale, S., McNeill, C. L., Hale, R., Laguionie Marchais, C., Hicks, N., Smith, H., Klar, J., Hiddink, J. G., Kowalik, J., Kitidis, V., Reynolds, S., Woodward, E. M. S. & 14 others, Tait, K., Homoky, W. B., Kroger, S., Bolam, S., Godbold, J. A., Aldridge, J., Mayor, D. J., Benoist, N. M. A., Bett, B. J., Morris, K. J., Parker, E. R., Ruhl, H. A., Statham, P. J. & Solan, M., 1 Aug 2017, In : Biogeochemistry. 135, 1-2, p. 1-34 34 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 12 Citations (Scopus)
    211 Downloads (Pure)

    Assessment of Blue Carbon Resources in Scotland's Inshore Marine Protected Area Network

    Burrows, M., Hughes, D., Austin, W. E. N., Smeaton, C., Hicks, N., Howe, J., Allen, C., Taylor, P. & Vare, L., 3 Feb 2017, Scottish Natural Heritage. 283 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Open Access
  • 302 Downloads (Pure)


    Blue carbon: blue sky thinking on Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas?

    Natalie Hicks (External Examiner)

    26 Jan 2017

    Activity: OtherTypes of External academic engagement - Invited talk

    Ocean Sciences Meeting 2016

    Natalie Hicks (Invited speaker)

    Feb 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    A EuroMarine workshop on linking biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services, a comparison between temperate and tropical seagrass meadows

    Natalie Hicks (Participant)

    5 Jun 20168 Jun 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

    SAGES Annual Science Meeting 2016

    Natalie Hicks (Participant)

    Aug 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    Journal Of The Marine Biological Association Of The United Kingdom (Journal)

    Natalie Hicks (Editorial board member)

    2015 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

    Guest scientist / expert for @biotweeps on Twitter for a week on ocean acidification and benthic biogeochemistry

    Natalie Hicks (Contributor)

    Sep 2014

    Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

    MASTS Annual Science Meeting 2013

    Natalie Hicks (Speaker)

    27 Aug 201329 Aug 2013

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference