Alice Lown (PhD student) – Ecology of Native Oysters

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Contact details:


I can also be found on LinkedIn and Research gate




Current Research

I have just started my PhD, funded by NERC under the EnvEast DTP. It is partnered with the Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority is titled “Ontogenetic development and community ecology of the native European Oyster (Ostrea edulis)”. It is a CASE (Collaborative awards in Science and engineering) project also working closely with Essex Wildlife Trust and the Blackwater Oystermen Association. It aims to cross borders between academia (University of Essex), government (IFCA), NGOs (Essex Wildlife Trust) and industry (Blackwater Oystermen Association).

I will primarily be looking into predator and competitor interactions with the native flat oyster within the Blackwater estuary and newly established marine conservation zone.

Previous Research

  In 2010 I graduated with a first class degree in Marine Biology from Newcastle University where I studied alarm pheromones in the signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, supervised by Dr. Matthew Bentley. I then completed three months research in Madagascar as an intern with Community Centred Conservtion. Here, I was part of a group studying the shark fin trades of Northern Madagascar and also researching turtle nesting areas.

In 2011 I started my MRes at Swansea University in Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries. My project title was “Adaptive variation and local adaption in brown trout Salmo trutta” supervised by Prof. Carlos Garcia De Leaniz. During this project I was funded by KESS under the European Social Fund and worked with the Environment Agency Wales studying behavioural, colouration and morphological differences of brown trout using digital photography between physically separated populations by natural and anthropogenic barriers on the Tawe and Teifi rivers in South Wales, completing both lab work and field work.

Alice Swansea fieldwork

After my MRes I was immediately hired by Dr. Martin Stevens to work as a paid research assistant in his Sensory Ecology team at Cambridge University where we then moved to Exeter University Cornwall campus in 2013. In this role I worked on a BBSRC grant titled “Predator vision and defensive coloration from mechanism to function”. I completed a range of behaviour and antipredator colouration experiments primarily with Carcinus maenas and Gobius paganellus using human visible and UV digital photography to research animal camouflage.

Alice falmouth fieldwork


Posters: Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour annual conference (Aberystwyth 2012), International Society for Behavioural Ecology (New York, 2014).

Presentations: Marine Biological Association 9th Postgraduate annual conference (Cork 2012), ExBase (Penryn 2013), CamoCon (Bristol 2013), Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour annual conference (Sheffield 2014),


Stevens, M., Broderick, A. C., Godley, B. J., Lown, A. E., Troscianko, J., Weber, N. & Weber, S. B. (2015). Phenotype – environment matching in sand fleas. Biology Letters. 11: 20150494

Stevens, M., Lown, A.E., & Wood, L.E. (2014) Camouflage and individual variation in shore crabs (Carcinus maenas) from different habitats. PLoS ONE. 9(12):e115586. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0115586

Stevens, M., Arenas, L. M. & Lown, A. E. Colour in camouflage, mimicry and warning signalling. In: Elliot, Andrew, Fairchild, Mark and Franklin, Anna (eds.) Handbook of color psychology. Cambridge University Press. (In Press)

Stevens, M., Lown, A.E., & Denton, A.M. (2014). Rockpool gobies change colour for camouflage. PLoS ONE. 9: e110325.

Covered by: National Geographic, Science Daily, IFL Science (15 October 2014), and more

Stevens, M., Lown, A.E., & Wood, L.E. (2014). Colour change and camouflage in juvenile shore crabs Carcinus maenas. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2014.00014

Troscianko, J., Lown, A.E., Hughes, A.E. & Stevens, M. (2013). Defeating crypsis: detection and learning of camouflage strategies. PLoS ONE. 8: e73733.

Covered by: New Scientist, International Business Times, and Science Daily (10 September 2013).