My career in marine biology started with an undergraduate placement in Hawaii, which extended to research in Panama, where my work on corals began. During my honours and PhD my research shifted to deep sea corals across four Antarctic field seasons and diving work in Patagonia. In the 2017 I participated in my 5th expedition, the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition, where I was the principal investigator for the final portion of the voyage for the Antarctic Seabed Carbon Capture Change project. I am currently based in Tasmania, where I balance global and national research affiliations working to further conservation efforts and broaden our understanding of marine biodiversity.

I am one of the many researchers who worked on the biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean following the Census of Antarctic Marine Life project which ended in 2010, as a community we are building on this body of work through initiatives including, the Marine Ecosystem Assessment of the Southern Ocean, and the Collaborative East Antarctic Marine Census Atlas project.

Narissa Bax and Rachel Downey
(Photo provided by Narissa Bax and
credited to credit Jean-François Lagrot)

Being a part of the Antarctic science community for the last decade has been an incredible experience – Antarctica has become an integral part of my identity, and I am proud to be here. I am one of only a few scientists worldwide who have the taxonomic knowledge to identify stylasterid corals, and I have discovered new species from East Antarctica and the Scotia Arc. My PhD developed tools to assess coral phylogenetics and evolutionary connectivity. In particular, I developed a case study linking evolutionary mechanisms and ocean chemistry, today and in the past to look at long term controls on coral distributions.

This work has important implications for present day changes in ocean chemistry, linked to ocean acidification. This work also has important implications for climate change mitigation, with a focus on blue carbon (biological storage of carbon on the Antarctic seafloor) and I recently led a science/policy collaboration to determine a pathway for protection of Antarctic blue carbon zones within the Antarctic Treaty System and the United Nations Climate Change regime. It is my hope that collaborative approaches will further biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation efforts in Antarctica.

If you would like to learn more about me or would like to contact me:



Project webpage:

Personal website:

Sample Publications:

Bax, Narissa et al. (2020) “Perspective: Increasing blue carbon around Antarctica is an ecosystem service of considerable societal and economic value worth protecting.” Global Change Biology

Nash, M., Nielsen, H.E., Shaw, J., King, M., Lea, M.A. and Bax, Narissa., (2019) “Antarctica just has this hero factor…”: Gendered barriers to Australian Antarctic research and remote fieldwork. PloS one, 14(1), p.e0209983.

Bax, Narissa. & Cairns, S.D. (2014) Stylasteridae (Cnidaria; Hydrozoa). In: DeBroyer, C., et al., Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean. Cambridge: SCAR, 107-112.

Kaiser, S., Brandão, S.N., Brix, S., Barnes, D.K., Bowden, D.A., Ingels, J., Leese, F., Schiaparelli, S., Arango, C.P., Badhe, R. and Bax, Narissa.,( 2013) Patterns, processes and vulnerability of Southern Ocean benthos: a decadal leap in knowledge and understanding. Marine biology, 160(9), pp.2295-2317.

Others articles and events:

100 Climate Conversations. (2022). Highlighted expert presenter – Narissa Bax. 

What’s up Down Deep – interview for the Hobart Magazine (March 2019)

D Barnes., C Sands., Narissa Bax., R Downey., C Held., O Hogg., C Moreau., B Moreno & M Lund Paulsen (2017) Blue carbon, cold water – nature’s fightback against climate change Darwin Initiative Newsletter August.

Al Jazeera English (2017)

D Barnes., C Sands., Narissa Bax., R Downey., C Held., O Hogg., K Minin., C Moreau., B Moreno & M Lund Paulsen (2016) Guest post: An Antarctic voyage in search of blue carbon. The Carbon Brief.