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Climate change is altering the distribution of organisms and the structure of ecosystems across the globe, and one of the most dramatically effected biomes are wetlands. My research has explored the impact of climate change across different types of wetlands- from coastal wetlands impacted by sea-level rise, to freshwater wetlands subject to the dual stressors of altered climatic conditions and water extraction. Our team has identified new approaches to wetland management, drawing attention to the benefits of carbon sequestration (“blue carbon”) in coastal wetlands, and pioneering tools helping river managers better accommodate the needs of wetlands when planning water allocations. This work has proceeded in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, ANSTO, the University of Wollongong, the US Geological Survey, and Beijing Forestry University.

Research interests

Response of wetlands to climate change, including sea-level rise, elevated atmospheric CO2, temperature, hydrological modification. Geomorphology and landscape evolution in the coastal zone. 


Link through to Saintilan et al. (2020) Thresholds of mangrove response to rapid sea-level rise. Science. 368(6495) 1118-1121


Education/Academic qualification

University of Sydney

Award Date: 1 Feb 1996

External positions

Senior Principal Research Science and Senior Team Leader, Water and Wetlands

1 Jan 201217 Feb 2015

Principal Research Scientist

1 Jul 201130 Jun 2012

Head, Rivers and Wetlands Unit

1 Feb 20071 Jan 2012

Associate Professor and Director, Centre for Environmental Restoration and Stewardship

1 Jan 200431 Jan 2006

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

21 Feb 199431 Dec 2003


1 Jan 199331 Dec 1993


1 Jan 198731 Dec 1987

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Research Output

A national approach to greenhouse gas abatement through blue carbon management

Kelleway, J. J., Serrano, O., Baldock, J. A., Cannard, T., Lovelock, C. E., Macreadie, P. I., Newnham, M., Saintilan, N. & Steven, A. D. L., Jul 2020, In : Global Environmental Change. 63, 102083.

The University of Western Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

  • Application of feature selection methods and machine learning algorithms for saltmarsh biomass estimation using Worldview-2 imagery

    Rasel, S. M. M., Chang, H. C., Ralph, T. J., Saintilan, N. & Diti, I. J., 11 Jun 2019, In : Geocarto International. 25 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

  • Policy considerations for managing wetlands under a changing climate

    Finlayson, C. M., Capon, S. J., Rissik, D., Pittock, J., Fisk, G., Davidson, N. C., Bodmin, K. A., Papas, P., Robertson, H. A., Schallenberg, M., Saintilan, N., Edyvane, K. & Bino, G., 3 Mar 2017, In : Marine and Freshwater Research. 68, 10, p. 1803-1815 13 p.

    Macquarie University

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Open Access
  • 1 Downloads (Pure)

    Marine climate change in Australia: impacts and adaptation responses. 2012 report card

    Poloczanska, E. S., Hobday, A. J., Richardson, A. J., Anthony, K., Arnould, J. P. Y., Beardall, J., Booth, D. J., Bostock, H., Bourne, D. G., Brett, S., Bromhead, D., Brown, J., Byrne, M., Campbell, A. H., Caputi, N., Chambers, L., Cheal, A., Church, J. A., Coleman, M. A., Connell, S. D. & 60 others, Connolly, R. M., Currie, K., Dann, P., Davidson, J. L., Devney, C., Diaz-Pullido, G., Doblin, M. A., Dunlop, N., Eggins, S., Ellwood, M., Eyre, B., Feng, M., Figueira, W., Fuentes, M., Gales, N., Graham, N. A. J., Griffiths, S. P., Haese, R., Hallegraeff, G., Hamann, M., Harcourt, R., Hill, K. L., Holbrook, N., Howard, W., Hunter, J., Hurd, C., Jenkins, G., Johnson, C. R., Kendrick, G. A., Law, C., Lenanton, R., Lenton, A., Ling, S. D., Lough, J., Lovelock, C. E., Lukoschek, V., Marshall, P., Matear, R., McGregor, S., McCulloch, M., McInnes, K., McKinnon, A. D., McNeil, B., Meekan, M. G., Müller, M. N., Munday, P., Nash, M., Opdyke, B., Pandolfi, J., Pearce, A., Power, S. B., Pratchett, M. S., Richards, R., Ridgway, K., Risbey, J., Roberts, D., Russell, B. D., Saintilan, N., Schmutter, K. & Williamson, J., 2012, Cleveland, Qld: CSIRO. 402 p.

    Macquarie University

    Research output: Book/ReportOther reportResearch

  • Response of salt marsh and mangrove wetlands to changes in atmospheric CO2, climate, and sea level

    McKee, K., Rogers, K. & Saintilan, N., 2012, Global change and the function and distribution of wetlands. Middleton, B. A. (ed.). Springer, Springer Nature, p. 63-96 34 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch