I am a photographer and scientist, who was told by universities I could not do art & science. Joke is on them, as for the decade-plus that I worked in biotech & biochemistry, I often did all of the scientific graphics and photography required for the entire company/lab!
In 2010 I was introduced to caving and I quickly became interested in combining my artistic skills with caving, hence, cave photography.
I always wanted to do field work, and was discouraged from this for gender-bias reasons. However, caving has lead me to just that in karst entomology & speleobiology. I am constantly working to break barriers!
Master of Science: research-based with thesis defense, March 2011
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Bachelor of Science: Biochemistry & Applied Mathematics, May 2008
Oakland University, Rochester, MI
Current Scientific Pursuits
2023-Current: Assistant Instructor in Biology at University of Alabama - Huntsville
2018-Current: Cave Bio Lab: I assist Dr. Matt Niemiller at Univeristy of Alabama-Huntsville with documenting and studying the biodiversity of caves in the TAG region.
2018-Current: Matienzo Karst Entomology Project: A subsection of the Matienzo Caves Project, our group works on understanding the unique invertibrates that inhabit the caves of the region. You can follow us on twitter @KarstEntomology
2020-Current: Nat Mountain Bioinventory: we were able to get a little spot of land and I am attempting to document all species and am creating a guidebook with my photography of our observations. You can follow my progress on iNaturalist.
2002-Current: Freelance Designer: contract with biotechnology companies for photography and graphic design due to my background of both art and science. This unique combination allows me to understand the technical nature of such jobs.
Scientific Publications in Speleology
Matthew L. Niemiller, Kirk S. Zigler, Amata Hinkle, Charles D.R. Stephen, Brendan Cramphorn, Jared Higgs, Nathaniel Mann, Brian T. Miller, K. Denise Kendall Niemiller, Kelly Smallwood, Jason Hardy. The Crystal-Wonder Cave System: a new hotspot of subterranean biodiversity in the southern Cumberland Plateau of south-central Tennessee, USA. In review.
Tom Thomson, Amata Hinkle, Fergus McBurney, Peter Smithers. New records, morphology, and behavioural observations of the troglobiont spider Iberina mazarredoi Simon, 1881(Araneae, Hahniidae) from the Cantabrian Karst of Northern Spain. In review.
Matthew L. Niemiller, Michael E. Slay, Thomas Inebnit, Benjamin Miller, Benjamin Tobin, Brendan Cramphorn, Amata Hinkle, Bradley D. Jones, Nathaniel Mann, K. Denise Kendall Niemiller, and Steve Pitts. 2023. Fern Cave: A Hotspot of Subterranean Biodiversity in the Interior Low Plateau Karst Region of Alabama in the Southeastern United States. Diversity. 6 May 2023; 2023; 15(5):633.
Tom Thomson, Amata Hinkle. Speleobiology in Northern Spain: The Work of the Matienzo Karst Entomology Project. British Cave Research Association: Cave Science Symposium. November 2020.
Tom Thomson, Amata Hinkle, Fergus McBurney. Cave Biology of Matienzo with a Focus on Entomology: The Work of the Matienzo Karst Entomology Project. Matienzo Caves Project 2010-2020.
Thomas Inebnit, Matthew L. Niemiller, Michael E. Slay, Amata Hinkle, Bradley D. Jones, Mark Jones, Joseph Lamb, Nathaniel Mann, Benjamin Miller, Pete Pattavina, Jennifer Pinkley, Steve Pitts, David Richardson, Kayla N. Sapkota. Comprehensive biodiversity inventory of the Fern Cave system at Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Jackson County, Alabama. National Caves & Karst Management Symposium. October 2019.
Matthew L. Niemiller, Thomas Inebnit, Amata Hinkle, Bradley Jones, Mark Jones, Joseph Lamb, Nathaniel Mann, Benjamin Miller, Jennifer Pinkley, Stephen Pitts, Kayla N. Sapkota, Michael E. Slay. Discovery of a new population of the federally endangered Alabama Cave Shrimp, Palaemonias alabamae Smalley, 1961, in northern Alabama. Subterranean Biology. 18 September 2019; 32 (43-59).
Matthew L. Niemiller, Amata Hinkle, Bradley D. Jones, Bernard R. Kuhajda, Joseph Lamb, K. Denise Kendall Niemiller, Charles D.R. Stephen, Kirk S. Zigler, and Annette S. Engel. Subterranean biodiversity in Alabama: addressing knowledge gaps through new bioinventory efforts. National Speological Society. July 2019.
Amata Hinkle: Cave Scientist. Vast Press. https://www.vast.press/amata-hinkle-cave-scientist/ February 2022.
Diversity in the darkness: Alabama's hidden but remarkable life in caves. Alabama Wildlife Foundation's magazine. January 2022.
Awesome Eight Extreme. National Geographic. Photo of Golondrinas published in the cave section of the book. 2017.
Naturze Jaskiń. Two images published in this Polish Speology Foundation book about geomorphology of caves. January 2017.
Cavers capture dramatic photos of descent into America's deepest pit. Yahoo News. 9 March 2015.
Don't look down for pit's sake! London Metro. 10 March 2015.
Saturn V Rocket in Snow. National Geographic. 19 February 2014. Online.
Ice Cave: Huntsville photographer captures spectacular images of frozen Alabama cave. Huntsville Times & AL.com. 12 February 2014.
Alabama cave freezes... The Daily Mail. 15 January 2014.
A Look Inside the UK's Biggest Cave. The Weather Channel. 7 November 2013.
Into the Void: Daredevils complete one of the world's biggest absails by dropping 3,000-ft of the face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Daily Mail. 28 August 2013.
Real life 'hobbit holes' of Mexico: Deepest open air pits in the world... Daily Mail. 7 March 2013.
Caves of TAG. 2013 Calendar.
Phosphorescent Cave. MSN Must-See Photos. 29 October 2012.
Shaft of Light: Cavers Take the Low Road. Daily Telegraph. 31 August 2012.
Stephens Gap Cave. MSN Must-See Photos. 31 August 2012.
Abseiling in on a beam of light: Stunning pictures show rainbow effect in deep Alabama cave. Daily Mail. 30 August 2012.
Photographer Spotlight: Sunguramy Photography. National Speleological Society News. August 2012, Centerfold Full Color.
Cave Pearls. National Geographic. 26 June 2012: Online.
Formation Grotto. Digital Photographer. 22 June 2012: Online.
Heart-stopping pictures show daredevil cavers descend 162 foot into pitch-black abyss. Daily Mail. 30 May 2012.
Eurycea lucifuga. Journal of Heath and Science at the University of Alabama (JOSHUA). 2012 May; 9(1): Cover.
10 Ladies. 25 Hours. 1 Cave. National Speleological Society News. 2012 January: 4-5, Back Cover.
Satin Angora. Scandinavia Standard. 2012.
Characterization of green fluorescent protein–expressing retinal cone bipolar cells in a 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 2a transgenic mouse line.
Neuroscience. 2009 October; 163(2): Cover.
Alabama Outdoors 2022 Photo Contest: Nature Activities: Second Place
Alabama Outdoors 2022 Photo Contest: Nature Activities: First Place
Alabama Outdoors 2021 Photo Contest: Nature Activities: Third Place
Alabama Outdoors 2020 Photo Contest: Nature Activities: First Place
NASA Social Media Pass for Marshall Space Flight Center learning about the Artemis mission
Alabama Outdoors 2019 Photo Contest: Nature Activities: First Place
Hidden Earth 2018 Print Photography: Award of Distinction
7th Balkan Photo Contest "We and Caves": "Beauty of Caves": 5th Place
May 2012-2016: Caters News Agency Adventure & Cave Photographer
SpeleoPhoto Contest GPME: Third Place in "Radical", Grand Winner in "Technical & Scientific"
NASA Social Media Pass for the Atlas V launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida
Southeastern Cave Conservancy 2nd Annual Photo Contest: First Place in both Secret Waters and Secret Life categories
Hidden Earth 2015 Digital Photography: 3 different Merit Awards (Judges: Paul Dold, Chris Binding, Steve Sharp)
NASA Social Media Pass RS-25 Engine Test media pass, photograph published by NASA
Southeastern Cave Conservancy First Annual Photo Contest: Best In Show
Hidden Earth 2014 Digital Photography: First Place (Judges: Robbie Shone, Nigel Dibben, Paul Dold)
Hidden Earth 2014 Digital Photography: Merit Award (Judges: Robbie Shone, Nigel Dibben, Paul Dold)
3rd Balkan Photo Contest "We and Caves" Category 1 "People Underground": 2nd Place
3rd Balkan Photo Contest "We and Caves" Category 2 "Beauty of Caves": 2nd Place
2011 TAG Fall Cave-In Photography Salon: Best in Show, 2nd, and 3rd place
2020-Current: Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
- yes, I am also a dog trainer, this uses all my neuroscience background and applies it. You can find me at IslandDog.Training in Huntsville.
2018-Current: British Cave Research Association
2015-Current: North Alabama Search Dog Association (NASDA)
2013-Current: British Caving Association
2012-Current: Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc
2012-2020: Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit (2017-2020: Board Member)
2010-2018: National Speleological Society
2012-2017: North Alabama Photographer Guild
2011-2015: VBATS (Long rope rappel team)
2013-2014: Search & Rescue Technicians (SARTEC) K9 Unit
2008-2012: International Association for the Study of Pain
2008-2011: American Chemical Society
2006/07 & 2007/08: Secretary for the Oakland University Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society