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Dr. Ana Queiros wins the 2022 AXA IM Research Award for blue carbon as a Nature-Based Solution

17 November 2022

AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM), in partnership with the AXA Research Fund, has announced Plymouth Marine Laboratory’s Dr Ana Queiros as winner of the AXA IM Research Award, which recognises “transformative research focused on enabling a just and green transition”.
seaweed Dr Queiros was selected by the award committee in recognition of the impact of her work which focusses on ocean management strategies that enhance ecosystems’ abilities to adapt to climate change (“climate-smart” management) and to act as carbon sinks (blue carbon). Recognising the need for society to play a role, her research seeks to generate recommendations for ocean management strategies that protect nature whilst being socially and economically viable.
Commenting on her research, the Selection Committee said:

“This year, we received a wide selection of remarkable research to examine, which was judged with great consideration against the award focus of solutions to enable a just and green transition. A major criterion for this year’s winner is deepening research into Nature-Based Solutions to support climate change adaptation and mitigation. Dr. Queiros’ research is recognised as a unique approach to measuring and protecting biodiversity, whilst also suggesting ways to overcome challenges involved in finding socially viable solutions.”
Dr Queiros said: “I’m delighted my work on the development of ocean based solutions supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation has been recognised for this award. The Ocean plays a vital role in the regulation of the global climate system and there is much potential to help mitigate climate change through improved management of marine ecosystems, especially, through the conservation of blue carbon habitats.

The health of our Ocean hangs in a fragile balance affected by climate change. The development of solutions for climate change mitigation requires climate-smart ocean management strategies that support the adaptive capacity of our Ocean. Our work on the detection of climate signals is a positive step in that direction.
I’m passionate about using my research to support the co-development of climate-smart ocean management strategies, and in particular, helping identify new approaches which benefit not only the Ocean and its biodiversity, but also the people and economies it supports."

What is blue carbon? Watch our video:

Marie Bogataj, Head of the AXA Research Fund and Group Foresight, and Marco Morelli, Executive Chairman at AXA IM, both commented: “Building on the success of last year’s award, we are pleased to support Dr. Queiros in her research around blue carbon and paving the way to the sustainable use of ocean resources. Ocean ecosystems are still largely undiscovered and under-researched, but funding would benefit the planet profoundly, including promoting biodiversity and helping to trap carbon. With the AXA IM Research Award, we aim to help the development of new solutions to transition to a net zero world and have a positive impact on society.”
About Dr. Ana Queiros

Dr. Ana Queiros

Senior Marine and Climate Change Ecologist
Plymouth Marine Laboratory, United Kingdom

Topic of research: Blue Carbon Eco-systems

Dr. Ana Queirós is an internationally recognised expert on seaweed blue carbon and climate change ecology, with expertise in field, laboratory and modelling based approaches.

Ana is working specifically on the development of nature-based solutions to help manage ocean habitats through the advancement of blue carbon research and the identification of ecosystem-level climate signals to adapt to climate change.

She is a global leader in macroalgal and coastal carbon dynamics. In 2019, she published the first field-based quantification of sedimentary seaweed carbon sequestration in the wild, highlighting the need for joint conservation of seaweed and sedimentary habitats. As well as being biodiversity hotspots, they have greater abilities to absorb carbon than terrestrial plants.

Ana has an extensive track record in the development of nature-based solutions for ocean management, and is leading research within globally distributed programmes that aim to help practitioners build climate resilience into marine conservation, restoration, harvesting and marine spatial planning, including important blue carbon habitat management (e.g. UNESCO Man & Biosphere programme collaborations).

She has presented on these subjects at the United Nations Climate Change Conference since COP22.
For more information about Dr. Ana Queiros, please see:
About the “AXA IM Research Award”

The award aims to support an advanced researcher between PhD + 8 years and PhD + 12 years maximum who will have demonstrated novelty, innovation and impact in his/her research in the area of solutions seeking to enable a just and green transition.
Nominees were expected to demonstrate the novelty, innovation, and impact of their research in the following areas:
  1. Innovative solutions and approaches to climate change mitigation that incorporate social factors and enable the world to reach Net-Zero by 2050.
  2. Novel approaches aimed at encouraging how, as a global society, we encourage a shift in human behaviour towards transitioning to a Net-Zero world and what the milestones are to achieve this.
  3. Nature-Based Solutions as a key component of our climate transition & biodiversity protection, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation. Effectiveness and co-existence with other proposed solutions.
  4. Innovative technology and processes to help measure biodiversity, for example soil diversity, as a means to further understand its inherent connection with climate change.
  5. Measurement and tracking as the crux of the climate change issue, both in terms of assessing our limits and the extent of success or failure in reducing CO2 levels and other pollutants. For example, carbon pricing or alternative approaches to financial and economic incentives to CO2 (and other warming gas) reductions and measurement methodologies for both GHG emissions reduction and CO2 removal.
  6. Beyond CO2, the reduction of other shorter lived climate forcers as a contribution to warming reduction.
For more information on the AXA IM Research Award: