Dr Natalie Hicks

Senior Lecturer
School of Life Sciences
Dr Natalie Hicks

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Marine Benthic Biogeochemistry

Carbon and oxygen dynamics in marine sediments (coastal and shelf) - includes carbon stocks and sequestration, 'blue carbon' and nature based solutions, and carbon cycling

Key words: Carbon cycling

Carbon cycling

Blue carbon

Carbon sequestration

Climate change in marine ecosystems

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Marine Biology Field Skills (BS114)

  • Transferable Skills in Life Sciences (BS143)

  • Professional skills for Ecological and Marine Scientists (BS257)

  • Estuarine and Coastal Ecology Field Module (BS303)

  • Climate Change and Pollution (BS345)

  • Estuarine and Coastal Ecology Field Module (Assessed in Following Year) (BS417)

  • Research Project: MSc Tropical Marine Biology (BS782)

  • Research Project in Life Sciences (BS832)

  • Employability Skills for the Biosciences (BS211)

  • Independent Research (MSci) (BS997)


Journal articles (22)

Fortune, I., Madgett, A., Scarborough Bull, A., Hicks, N., Love, M. and Paterson, D., Haven or hell? A perspective on the ecology of offshore oil and gas platforms. PLOS Sustainainability and Transforumation. 3 (4), e0000104-e0000104

Knights, A., Lemasson, A., Firth, L., Beaumont, N., Birchenough, S., Claisse, J., Copping, A., Coolen, J., De Dominicis, M., Degraer, S., Elliott, M., Fernandes, P., Fowler, A., Frost, M., Henry, L-A., Hicks, N., Hyder, K., Jagerroos, S., Love, M., Lynam, C., Macreadie, P., McLean, D., Marlow, J., Mavraki, N., Montagna, P., Paterson, DM., Perrow, M., Porter, J., Scarborough Bull, A., Schratzberger, M., Shipley, B., van Elden, S., Vanaverbeke, J., Want, A., Watson, SCL., Wilding, TA. and Somerfield, PJ., (2024). To what extent can decommissioning options for marine artificial structures move us toward environmental targets?. Journal of Environmental Management. 350, 119644-119644

Knights, AM., Lemasson, AJ., Firth, LB., Bond, T., Claisse, J., Coolen, JWP., Copping, A., Dannheim, J., De Dominicis, M., Degraer, S., Elliott, M., Fernandes, PG., Fowler, AM., Frost, M., Henry, L-A., Hicks, N., Hyder, K., Jagerroos, S., Jones, DOB., Love, M., Lynam, CP., Macreadie, PI., Marlow, J., Mavraki, N., McLean, D., Montagna, PA., Paterson, DM., Perrow, M., Porter, J., Russell, DJF., Bull, AS., Schratzberger, M., Shipley, B., van Elden, S., Vanaverbeke, J., Want, A., Watson, SCL., Wilding, TA. and Somerfield, P., (2024). Developing expert scientific consensus on the environmental and societal effects of marine artificial structures prior to decommissioning. Journal of Environmental Management. 352, 119897-119897

Chen, Z., Cameron, TC., Couce, E., Garcia, C., Hicks, N., Thomas, GE., Thompson, MSA., Whitby, C. and O'Gorman, EJ., (2024). Oil and gas platforms degrade benthic invertebrate diversity and food web structure. Science of The Total Environment. 929, 172536-172536

Hicks, N., Fox, C., Webb, C., Grant, J., Brain, S., Fraser, S. and Abell, R., (2023). Measuring and modelling the dispersal of salmon farm organic waste over sandy sediments. Aquaculture Environment Interactions. 15, 251-269

McLean, DL., Ferreira, LC., Benthuysen, JA., Miller, KJ., Schläppy, M-L., Ajemian, MJ., Berry, O., Birchenough, SNR., Bond, T., Boschetti, F., Bull, AS., Claisse, JT., Condie, SA., Consoli, P., Coolen, JWP., Elliott, M., Fortune, IS., Fowler, AM., Gillanders, BM., Harrison, HB., Hart, KM., Henry, L-A., Hewitt, CL., Hicks, N., Hock, K., Hyder, K., Love, M., Macreadie, PI., Miller, RJ., Montevecchi, WA., Nishimoto, MM., Page, HM., Paterson, DM., Pattiaratchi, CB., Pecl, GT., Porter, JS., Reeves, DB., Riginos, C., Rouse, S., Russell, DJF., Sherman, CDH., Teilmann, J., Todd, VLG., Treml, EA., Williamson, DH. and Thums, M., (2022). Influence of offshore oil and gas structures on seascape ecological connectivity.. Global Change Biology. 28 (11), 3515-3536

Lérida-Toro, V., Abascal, U., Villa-Alfageme, M., Klar, J., Hicks, N. and López-Gutiérrez, JM., (2022). ¹²⁹I in sediment cores from the Celtic Sea by AMS through a microwave digestion process. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms. 529, 61-67

Graves, CA., Benson, L., Aldridge, J., Austin, WEN., Dal Molin, F., Fonseca, VG., Hicks, N., Hynes, C., Kröger, S., Lamb, PD., Mason, C., Powell, C., Smeaton, C., Wexler, SK., Woulds, C. and Parker, R., (2022). Sedimentary carbon on the continental shelf: Emerging capabilities and research priorities for Blue Carbon. Frontiers in Marine Science. 9, 926215-

Legge, O., Johnson, M., Hicks, N., Jickells, T., Diesing, M., Aldridge, J., Andrews, J., Artioli, Y., Bakker, DCE., Burrows, MT., Carr, N., Cripps, G., Felgate, SL., Fernand, L., Greenwood, N., Hartman, S., Kröger, S., Lessin, G., Mahaffey, C., Mayor, DJ., Parker, R., Queirós, AM., Shutler, JD., Silva, T., Stahl, H., Tinker, J., Underwood, GJC., Van Der Molen, J., Wakelin, S., Weston, K. and Williamson, P., (2020). Carbon on the Northwest European Shelf: Contemporary Budget and Future Influences. Frontiers in Marine Science. 7

Guamán-Guevara, F., Austin, H., Hicks, N., Streeter, R. and Austin, WEN., (2019). Impacts of ocean acidification on intertidal benthic foraminiferal growth and calcification. PLoS ONE. 14 (8), e0220046-e0220046

Ingels, J., dos Santos, G., Hicks, N., Vazquez, YV., Neres, PF., Pontes, LP., Amorim, MN., Román, S., Du, Y., Stahl, H., Somerfield, PJ. and Widdicombe, S., (2018). 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. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 502, 211-226

Hicks, N., Liu, X., Gregory, R., Kenny, J., Lucaci, A., Lenzi, L., Paterson, DM. and Duncan, KR., (2018). Temperature Driven Changes in Benthic Bacterial Diversity Influences Biogeochemical Cycling in Coastal Sediments. Frontiers in Microbiology. 9 (AUG), 1730-

Hicks, N., Ubbara, GR., Silburn, B., Smith, HEK., Kröger, S., Parker, ER., Sivyer, D., Kitidis, V., Hatton, A., Mayor, DJ. and Stahl, H., (2017). Oxygen dynamics in shelf seas sediments incorporating seasonal variability. Biogeochemistry. 135 (1-2), 35-47

Thompson, CEL., Silburn, B., Williams, ME., Hull, T., Sivyer, D., Amoudry, LO., Widdicombe, S., Ingels, J., Carnovale, G., McNeill, CL., Hale, R., Marchais, CL., Hicks, N., Smith, HEK., Klar, JK., Hiddink, JG., Kowalik, J., Kitidis, V., Reynolds, S., Woodward, EMS., Tait, K., Homoky, WB., Kröger, S., Bolam, S., Godbold, JA., Aldridge, J., Mayor, DJ., Benoist, NMA., Bett, BJ., Morris, KJ., Parker, ER., Ruhl, HA., Statham, PJ. and Solan, M., (2017). An approach for the identification of exemplar sites for scaling up targeted field observations of benthic biogeochemistry in heterogeneous environments. Biogeochemistry. 135 (1-2), 1-34

Silburn, B., Kröger, S., Parker, ER., Sivyer, DB., Hicks, N., Powell, CF., Johnson, M. and Greenwood, N., (2017). Benthic pH gradients across a range of shelf sea sediment types linked to sediment characteristics and seasonal variability. Biogeochemistry. 135 (1-2), 69-88

Currie, AR., Tait, K., Parry, H., de Francisco-Mora, B., Hicks, N., Osborn, AM., Widdicombe, S. and Stahl, H., (2017). Marine Microbial Gene Abundance and Community Composition in Response to Ocean Acidification and Elevated Temperature in Two Contrasting Coastal Marine Sediments. Frontiers in Microbiology. 8 (AUG), 1599-

Aldridge, JN., Lessin, G., Amoudry, LO., Hicks, N., Hull, T., Klar, JK., Kitidis, V., McNeill, CL., Ingels, J., Parker, ER., Silburn, B., Silva, T., Sivyer, DB., Smith, HEK., Widdicombe, S., Woodward, EMS., van der Molen, J., Garcia, L. and Kröger, S., (2017). Comparing benthic biogeochemistry at a sandy and a muddy site in the Celtic Sea using a model and observations. Biogeochemistry. 135 (1-2), 155-182

Hicks, N., Vik, U., Taylor, P., Ladoukakis, E., Park, J., Kolisis, F. and Jakobsen, KS., (2017). Using Prokaryotes for Carbon Capture Storage. Trends in Biotechnology. 35 (1), 22-32

Hicks, N., Ubbara, GR., Silburn, B., Smith, HEK., Kröger, S., Parker, ER., Sivyer, D., Kitidis, V., Hatton, A., Mayor, DJ. and Stahl, H., (2017). Oxygen dynamics in shelf seas sediments incorporating seasonal variability.. Biogeochemistry. 135 (1), 35-47

Hicks, N., Vik, U., Taylor, P., Ladoukakis, E., Park, J., Kolisis, F., Stahl, H. and Jakobsen, KS., (2015). Reviews and synthesis: Carbon capture and storage monitoring – an integrated biological, biophysical and chemical approach. Biogeosciences Discussions. 12 (12), 8909-8937

Hicks, N., Bulling, MT., Solan, M., Raffaelli, D., White, PCL. and Paterson, DM., (2011). Impact of biodiversity-climate futures on primary production and metabolism in a model benthic estuarine system.. BMC Ecology. 11 (1), 7-7

Bulling, MT., Hicks, N., Murray, L., Paterson, DM., Raffaelli, D., White, PCL. and Solan, M., (2010). Marine biodiversity–ecosystem functions under uncertain environmental futures. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 365 (1549), 2107-2116

Book chapters (1)

Stafford, R., Ashley, M., Clavey, L., Esteves, LS., Hicks, N., Jones, A., Leonard, P., Luisetti, T., Martin, A., Parker, R., Rees, S., Schratzberger, M. and Unsworth, R., (2021). Coastal and Marine Systems. In: Nature-based Solutions for Climate Change in the UK: A Report by the British Ecological Society. Editors: Stafford, R., Chamberlain, B., Clavey, L., Gillingham, P., McKain, S., Morecroft, M., Morrison-Bell, C. and Watts, O., . British Ecological Society. 107- 120

Reports and Papers (1)

Fox, C., Hicks, N., Chris, W., Grant, J., Brain, S., Fraser, S. and Abell, R., (2022). Improving understanding of fish farm organic waste dispersal in higher energy environments

Other (1)

Woodward-Rowe, H., Dal Molin, F., Gregson, B., Mason, C., Parker, R. and Hicks, N., (2024).The effect of man-made structures on sedimentary blue carbon dynamics 

Grants and funding


Advancing Resilience and Innovation for Sustainability in the East of England

Economic and Social Research Council


To assess the potential for restoration of saltmarsh, seagrass and native oyster beds at Sandwich and Pegwell Bay NNR

EXO Environmental Ltd

REWilding and restoration inteRtIdal sedimenT Ecosystem for carbon sequestration, climate adaptation and biodiversity support

European Commission


ORBIT: Offshore Renewables: winds of change for Benthic communities?

Natural Environment Research Council

PhD Studentship Intertidal seagrass dynamics, recovery and role in nature based solutions

Harwich Haven Authority


Functionality and Ecological Connectivity of Man-Made Structures (FuECoMMS)

Natural Environment Research Council

EPStromNet - Extant Peritidal Stromatolite Network

Natural Environment Research Council

Ecosystem Management: Building Resilience and Adaptability to Coastal Climate Change Effects

Economic and Social Research Council

+44 (0) 1206 873308


3SW.3.08, Colchester Campus

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