Narissa Bax

Narissa Bax
University of Tasmania · Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

PhD in Marine Biodiversity
Marine and Coastal Program Coordinator at the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI), Falkland Islands

About

42
Publications
9,924
Reads
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366
Citations
Introduction
Our work on Antarctic blue carbon is underpinned by biodiversity conservation and clarifies that nature is more efficient than the technological capacity for carbon capture. This work changes how we look at biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation - if we value marine life as blue carbon and other ecosystem services as nature-based solutions to meet decarbonisation targets (see Bax et al., 2020: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.15392).
Additional affiliations
May 2021 - present
South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute
Position
  • Marine and Coastal Program Coordinator
Description
  • Supporting stakeholders and policy to sustainably conserve a network of Marine Management Areas aligned to international criteria for Marine Protected Area designation. These designations inform the establishment and long-term monitoring of globally important MPAs in the Falkland Islands. By tying conservation policy to blue carbon and the blue economy, this research advances biodiversity protection standards and nature-based solutions to climate change across Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems.
October 2020 - May 2021
Australian Antarctic Division
Position
  • Researcher
January 2017 - June 2020
CSIRO Marine And Atmospheric Research
Position
  • Researcher
Description
  • Marine scientist on the project: seafloor geological characterisation of the Great Australian Bight submarine canyons, potential hydrocarbon seeps and volcanic seamounts (2017) and curator and imaging specialist at the Australian National Fish Collection (2018 - 2020).
Education
February 2010 - August 2015
University of Tasmania
Field of study
  • PhD at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. Thesis: Deep-Sea Stylasterid Corals in the Antarctic, Sub-Antarctic and Patagonian Benthos: Biogeography, Phylogenetics, Connectivity and Conservation
February 2009 - December 2009
University of Tasmania
Field of study
  • Antarctic Studies with Honours at the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies. Thesis: Deep-sea coral connectivity in East Antarctica
January 2006 - June 2006
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Field of study
  • Marine Biology

Publications

Publications (42)
Article
Full-text available
Precautionary conservation and cooperative global governance are needed to protect Antarctic blue carbon: the world's largest increasing natural form of carbon storage with high sequestration potential. As patterns of ice-loss around Antarctica become more uniform, there is an underlying increase in carbon capture-to-storage-to-sequestration on the...
Article
Full-text available
The Southern Ocean supports ecosystem services that are important on a global scale. Climate change and human activities (tourism, fishing, and research) will affect both the demand for, and the provision of, these services into the future. Here we synthesize recent assessments of the current status and expected future climate-driven changes in Sou...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge of life on the Southern Ocean seafloor has substantially grown since the beginning of this century with increasing ship-based surveys and regular monitoring sites, new technologies and greatly enhanced data sharing. However, seafloor habitats and their communities exhibit high spatial variability and heterogeneity that challenges the way...
Article
Full-text available
Humans have relied on coastal resources for centuries. However, current growth in population and increased accessibility of coastal resources through technology have resulted in overcrowded and often conflicted spaces. The recent global move towards development of national blue economy strategies further highlights the increased focus on coastal re...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As oceans warm, reducing the extent of sea-ice and-ice shelves, increased carbon capture by phytoplankton and storage by southern polar benthos (sea bed organisms), is potentially the largest negative feedback on climate change. Teasing apart biological processes within and between geographic regions is vital to our understanding of global carbon c...
Article
Full-text available
Remote islands, such as those in the sub-Antarctic, represent vitally important oases for coastal megafauna and harbor abundant wildlife. The Falkland Islands are one such biodiversity hub and host a wealth of globally important breeding and foraging locations for animals of higher trophic levels, including gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) – pict...
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystem-based conservation that includes carbon sinks, alongside a linked carbon credit system, as part of a nature-based solution to combating climate change, could help reduce greenhouse gas levels and therefore the impact of their emissions. Blue carbon habitats and pathways can also facilitate biodiversity retention, aiding sustainable fisher...
Article
Full-text available
Proactive and coordinated action to mitigate and adapt to climate change will be essential for achieving the healthy, resilient, safe, sustainably harvested and biodiverse ocean that the UN Decade of Ocean Science and sustainable development goals (SDGs) seek. Ocean-based mitigation actions could contribute 12% of the emissions reductions required...
Article
Full-text available
Marine ecosystems and their associated biodiversity sustain life on Earth and hold intrinsic value. Critical marine ecosystem services include maintenance of global oxygen and carbon cycles, production of food and energy, and sustenance of human wellbeing. However marine ecosystems are swiftly being degraded due to the unsustainable use of marine e...
Article
Full-text available
The majority of Antarctica’s biodiversity inhabits marine benthic ecosystems. Shallow-water habitats represent vitally important oases for productive and thriving benthic communities, with links to higher trophic levels. Scientists have only a limited under-standing of these coastal ecosystems across most of the continent, as there are many vast ar...
Article
Full-text available
Diminishing prospects for environmental preservation under climate change are intensifying efforts to boost capture, storage and sequestration (long-term burial) of carbon. However, as Earth's biological carbon sinks also shrink, remediation has become a key part of the narrative for terrestrial ecosystems. In contrast, blue carbon on polar contine...
Article
Full-text available
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aspire to a society where ways to improve inclusivity and diversity of equity are actively explored. Here, we examine how equity is considered in a suite of papers that explored possible sustainable futures for the oceans, and mapped out pathways to achieve these futures. Our analysis revealed...
Poster
Full-text available
Precautionary conservation and cooperative global governance are needed to protect Antarctic blue carbon: the world's largest increasing natural form of carbon storage with high sequestration potential. As patterns of ice loss around Antarctica become more uniform, there is an underlying increase in carbon capture‐to‐storage‐to‐sequestration on the...
Article
Full-text available
Humans have relied on coastal resources for centuries. However, current growth in population and increased accessibility of coastal resources through technology have resulted in overcrowded and often conflicted spaces. The recent global move towards development of national blue economy strategies further highlights the increased focus on coastal re...
Article
Full-text available
The ocean economy is experiencing rapid growth that will provide benefits but will also pose environmental and social risks. With limited space and degraded resources in coastal areas, offshore waters will be a particular focus of Blue Economy expansion over the next decade. When emerging and established economic sectors expand in offshore waters (...
Chapter
This topical Research Handbook examines the legal intersections of climate change, oceans and coasts across multiple scales and sectors, covering different geographies and regions. With expert contributions from Europe, Australasia, the Pacific, North America and Asia, it includes insightful chapters on issues ranging across the impacts of climate...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding the vulnerability of marine calcifiers to ocean acidification is a critical issue, especially in the Southern Ocean (SO), which is likely to be the one of the first, and most severely affected regions. Since the industrial revolution, ~30% of anthropogenic CO2 has been absorbed by the oceans. Seawater pH levels have already decreased...
Preprint
Marine ecosystems and their associated biodiversity sustain life on Earth and hold intrinsic value. Critical marine ecosystem services include maintenance of global oxygen and carbon cycles, production of food and energy, and sustenance of human wellbeing. However marine ecosystems are rapidly declining due to the unsustainable use of marine enviro...
Article
Species inventories are essential to the implementation of conservation policies to mitigate biodiversity loss and maintain ecosystem services and their value to society. This is particularly topical with respect to climate change and direct anthropogenic effects on Antarctic biodiversity, with the identification of the most at-risk taxa and geogra...
Article
Full-text available
Pressure in academia and science is rapidly increasing and early career researchers (ECRs) have a lot to gain from being involved in research initiatives such as large international projects. But just how inclusive are they? Here we discuss experiences of ECRs directly involved in the Marine Ecosystem Assessment for the Southern Ocean (MEASO), an A...
Article
Full-text available
As marine-ice around Antarctica retracts, a vast ‘blue carbon’ sink, in the form of living biomass, is emerging. Properly protected and promoted Antarctic blue carbon will form the world’s largest natural negative feedback on climate change. However, fulfilling this promise may be challenging, given the uniqueness of the region and the legal system...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctica is often associated with images of masculine figures battling against the blizzard. The pervasiveness of heroic white masculine leadership and exploration in Antarctica and, more broadly, in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) research cultures, has meant women have had lesser access to Antarctic research...
Data
Antarctic women survey. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Background: The Great Australian Bight (GAB) comprises the majority of Australia’s southern coastline, but to date its deep water fauna has remained almost unknown. Recent issuing of oil and gas leases in the region has highlighted this lack of baseline biological data and established a pressing need to characterise benthic abyssal fauna. Methods:...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
What little we know of high latitude southern continental shelves suggests that they provide globally important carbon capture and storage. As well as oceanographic CO2 absorption, biological fixation and trophic cascading are important but the latter are little understood or quantified. Most foodweb carbon is pelagic, recycled through microbial lo...
Chapter
Full-text available
Stylasterid corals, common name “lace corals”, are calcified, often colourful, colonial hydrozoans of the phylum Cnidaria. Their aragonite/calcite skeleton (Cairns & Macintyre 1992), gross branching morphology, relatively large size, and their association with commensal invertebrates (e.g. polychaetes and asteroids) make them an important component...
Article
Full-text available
In the Southern Ocean, that is areas south of the Polar Front, long-term oceanographic cooling, geographic separation, development of isolating current and wind systems, tectonic drift and fluctuation of ice sheets amongst others have resulted in a highly endemic benthic fauna, which is generally adapted to the long-lasting, relatively stable envir...
Article
Full-text available
In the Southern Ocean, i.e. areas south of the Polar Front, long-term oceanographic cooling, geographic separation, development of isolating current and wind systems, tectonic drift, and fluctuation of ice sheets amongst others have resulted in a highly endemic benthic fauna, which is generally adapted to the long-lasting, relatively stable environ...
Article
Full-text available
In the Southern Ocean, that is areas south of the Polar Front, long-term oceanographic cooling, geographic separation, development of isolating current and wind systems, tectonic drift and fluctuation of ice sheets amongst others have resulted in a highly endemic benthic fauna, which is generally adapted to the long-lasting, relatively stable envir...
Poster
Full-text available
Les deux premières campagnes liées au programme de l’IPEV REVOLTA (Radiations EVOLutives en Terre Adélie, n°1124, IPEV) se sont déroulées au cours des étés austraux 2009-2010 et 2010-2011. Les objectifs de ce programme sont : (1) explorer la biodiversité de la faune marine ; (2) caractériser les assemblages que forment ces organismes marins ; (3) t...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Sub-Antarctic Islands, unlike the Antarctic continent, are typically managed by individual countries and don’t fall under a treaty system. As a consequence, science coordination is less well-developed in the region than in the Antarctic Treaty area. Moreover, the significance of the islands themselves are frequently overlooked in global discussions on climate change in polar environments. To address important knowledge gaps and scientific priorities for the sub-Antarctic and pave the way for increased research coordination, the South Atlantic Research Institute (SAERI) organised a Symposium on Sub-Antarctic connections and climate change hosted at Wilton Park in October 2021, ahead of COP26. Symposium discussions led to the creation of a sub-Antarctic blue carbon and natural archives (such as ice-core, corals, peat-core and fjord geology) network of ~30 researchers working in the region, across career stages, nationalities and disciplines - to elucidate our understanding of blue carbon in the past, present and future.
Project
The goals of this program are, first to establish a benthic biodiversity baseline of the Pointe Géologie archipelago. This will be followed by the set up of a long-term monitoring of the variation of biotic and abiotic factors. We will thus, investigate species richness, population genetic diversity, inter-specific phylogenetic relationships, benthic assemblage and habitats diversity to accurately estimate all benthic biodiversity components. Benthic communities dynamics characterisation also requires functional studies, such as: ecological successions, trophic networks and life history traits. We propose to tackle different approaches to achieve these goals: a. complete the qualitative study of the macro fauna (systematics using morphology, barcoding); b. characterise chromosomal rearrangements of key taxa (Notothenioids, Crinoids...) to apprehend speciation mechanisms at local and circum-antarctic scale; c. complement circumpolar target taxa population genetics analyses (Crinoids, Asterids...); d. complement large scale molecular phylogeny of key taxa (Echinoderms, Notothenioids, Ascidians...); e. characterise benthic assemblage: complete ROV benthic transects analyses; initiate quantitative study of the benthic macro-fauna, endo-fauna; f. characterise the benthic habitats: sedimentary mapping, precise bathymetry, temperature and salinity measurements; g. investigate ecological successions of benthic assemblages; h. appraise benthic trophic networks; i. provide information about important life history traits (reproductive cycle, stomach contents, growth rates...) of key taxa (Echinoderms, Notothenioids...); j. ecoregionalisation, evolutionary history and species flocks studies.
Project
The principal purpose of the ASCCC Project (http://www.asccc.co.uk/) is to investigate and understand the role of polar and subpolar seabeds in the carbon cycle, particularly in response to climate change. Background - The continental shelves along polar continental margins and archipelagos are wide, deep and rich in life. Most species known from polar waters live on the seabed (benthos) and recently it has been discovered that they play an important, and increasing, role in the carbon cycle. Benthos commonly comprise echinoderms (sea stars, brittlestars, sea ucrhins), molluscs (clams & snails), corals, sponges, crustaceans, bryozoans (sea mosses) and many other animal types. They eat plankton (such as microscopic plants and animals). Carbon is transported through the system by being fixed in photosynthesis by the tiny algae, which are eaten by benthos, and then buried when the benthic animals die. We call this ‘carbon immobilization’ (net annual carbon accumulation) and our main aim is to attempt to measure how much carbon is held per unit area of the seabed per year, and how this varies in time and space. To date we have focussed mainly on one group of animals (bryozoans) because they are common, easy to identify, sessile (they don’t move) and have annual growth lines in their skeletons (like tree rings) – making them easier to age. Project methodology – The majority of our work has taken place on board the RRS James Clark Ross, an ice-strengthened vessel run by the British Antarctic Survey. We use a variety of apparatus: 1) a multibeam swath to map the physical characteristics of the seabed; 2) a bespoke camera lander that photographs precise areas of the seabed in high resolution; 3) an Agassiz trawl that collects specimens of larger benthic species; 4) an Epibenthic sledge which collects smaller benthic species and; 5) a CTD which collects information on the physical and chemical characteristics of the water column above the seabed. Through a series of treatments (e.g. drying and ashing) of certain specimens, we can calculate the proportion of organic and inorganic carbon in each annual growth increment of each animal. Image analysis of photographs allows us to calculate densities, so that we can estimate the total and yearly carbon in life on the seabed for each sample site. Project results - In 2015 we estimated the carbon stocks and annual increments around the West Antarctic seas. We found that this value has nearly doubled in the last 25 years, in response to sea ice losses. So although rising CO2 in the atmosphere has driven global warming, which has reduced Arctic and west Antarctic sea ice through warming air and/or sea temperatures, it has led to more carbon accumulation in animals on the seabed (thus less in the air) as a feedback working against climate change. Our second paper in 2015 found that carbon immobilization is much higher at certain locations in the Southern Ocean, particularly the South Orkney Islands. This carbon sink hotspot was not due to animal density or longevity but caused by rapid growth fuelled by longer phytoplankton blooms (primary production). We compared remotely (satellite) sensed and directly sampled sources (Antarctic research station collections), and both datasets correlated to duration (rather than amount) of phytoplankton food availability. Climate forced sea-ice losses have allowed longer micro algal blooms and life on the sea floor is 'cashing in' on this longer banquet. Good news for us, as these are becoming significant carbon sinks and negative feedbacks to climate change.