Niki Hubbard

Niki Hubbard

PhD Student
Centre for Marine Science and Innovation
Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences

A Brit in Sydney, I studied Behavioural Ecology at the University of Exeter, where I captured, pampered, and photographed tiny juvenile Carcinus maenas crabs to study camouflage and background matching across various habitat types.

After stints working in science communication, first helping to run the print magazine Biosphere with a friend, and then as part of the comms team at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, I found myself traveling to the other side of the planet to chase the marine PhD dream.

My happy place is a good rocky shore - I'm an excitable nerd especially when it comes to cephalopods, sea slugs, crabs, and anything else weird and wonderful in the underwater & intertidal world.

Project: In the spotlight: impacts of artificial light at night on the coastal environment

Supervised by: Mariana Mayer Pinto, Alistair Poore, Katie Dafforn

Project Description: My PhD focuses on studying the effects of artificial light at night (ALAN) on coastal marine systems. More specifically investigating impacts of ALAN on the behaviour of marine invertebrates, predator-prey interactions, and if any behavioural changes under ALAN conditions could have the potential for cascading effects in intertidal and/or subtidal marine ecosystems.

In 2022, in a series of aquarium experiments, I used infra-red capable cameras and video footage to study the behavioural response of the abundant rocky intertidal crab Leptograpsus variegatus to ALAN. More recently, in early 2023, I have conducted experiments in the shallow subtidal to investigate how different light levels might influence the colonisation, abundance and species richness of epifauna, such as amphipods and polychaetes, on seaweed and artificial habitats.

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