Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology

The aims of the Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology are to undertake research and scholarly activity that will gain and communicate an understanding of the ecology of alpine landscapes that can be used for their wise and sustainable management. Specifically, the Centre conducts research based on the research needs of alpine landscapes and ecosystems, attracts research funds from governments and industry and attracts researchers and postgraduate students.

The Centre consists of 20 La Trobe staff and eight research students from across the School. Researchers from other organisations such as University of Melbourne and CSIRO collaborate on specific projects. The researchers involved in the Centre have a disciplinary breadth and experience of working in the alps that is not found in any other Victorian institution.

Current research is wide-ranging and includes post-fire regeneration in alpine and sub-alpine landscapes, the ecology and genetics of Burramys parvus (Mountain Pygmy possum) populations in the Victorian alps, the ecology of alpine peatlands and their restoration, the ecology, taxonomy and conservation of alpine invertebrates and the use of plant functional types to understand long-term vegetation change.

A collaborative project with the University of Melbourne is assessing the potential impacts of climate change on vegetation in the Victorian Alps. This research, funded by an ARC Grant, the Department of Sustainability and Environment, and Parks Victoria, is linked to the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX).

Each summer the Centre conducts the Alpine Ecology course which specialises in the interactions between the abiotic and biotic components in the alpine landscape.