Environmental research

As the world's population grows, land and water management policy and practice have a direct impact on our capacity to secure our food, water and the environment. At La Trobe we will use our world-class facilities and expertise in agricultural biotechnology, ecological science and water policy to help address the challenges.

Water and land management

large moat with water treesCentre for Freshwater Ecosystems

The Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems (CFE) brings together a wealth of expertise to understand and solve significant challenges to support the sustainable management of freshwater ecosystems.

Our work directly supports decision-making regarding maintenance and restoration of the long-term health of rivers, catchments, floodplains and wetlands and is founded on a history of research under the auspices of the Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre.

Our mission is to lead the way for healthy and sustainable freshwater ecosystems through innovation and excellence in research and education. Research themes pursued by the centre include:

  • Ecosystem monitoring and assessment
  • Environmental biogeochemistry and contaminants
  • Environmental and social policy
  • Fish ecology and management
  • Genetics and conservation
  • Invertebrate community ecology
  • Quantitative modelling and forecasting
  • Spatial modelling and GIS analysis
  • Water management
  • Wetland and floodplain ecology.

vineyards, canola fields and pasturesResearch Centre for Future Landscapes

The Research Centre for Future Landscapes (RCFL) was established in 2017 and is a multi-disciplinary environmental research centre based in the School of Life Sciences.

Our goal is to generate knowledge and solutions that address the global challenge of sustaining and restoring natural ecosystems in modified landscapes, and empowering people and communities to create more sustainable landscapes.

To do this, the we foster research into:

  • the drivers and outcomes of landscape change for nature and people;
  • understanding ecological function in modified landscapes;
  • solutions to improve environmental sustainability and community resilience; and
  • land-use planning and management options for people, communities and future landscapes.

Ecology and environmental studies

alpine fields with two people working in itResearch Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology

The Research Centre for Applied Alpine Ecology comprises a group of professional scientists and academics who study all aspects of the ecology of alpine and sub-alpine landscapes. Our scientific research includes:

  • ecological processes
  • effects of fire
  • exotic plants and animals
  • human activities
  • the management of these ecosystems in response to climate change.

In addition to our active research program, the Research Centre takes a leading role in teaching alpine ecology to land management staff, research students, and members of the public with an interest in alpine ecosystems, through the Alpine Ecology Course which is held most summers at Falls Creek.

Collaborative Research Centres (3)

La Trobe University participates in a number of collaborative research centres with other research organisations, industry and government bodies.

close up of corn headARC centre for excellence in plant energy biology

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (PEB) is a cutting edge research centre focused on better understanding the way in which plants interconvert forms of chemical energy in response to environmental change. Their goals are:

  • To elucidate the fundamental mechanisms of energy biology regulation
  • To be a leading Centre for advanced training and education of plant and computational biologists in Australia
  • To build strategic collaborations for Australia in the international science community
  • To enhance plant biotechnologies to build technological innovations to aid Australian agricultural innovation.

Mallee Regional Innovation Centre

The Mallee Regional Innovation Centre is a joint venture between La Trobe University, the University of Melbourne and SuniTAFE.

It focuses on four focal areas are horticulture, water, energy and the environment in irrigated production and natural resource management along the Murray River from Swan Hill, through to Mildura and the South Australian border.

inside a white corridor of the plant biosecurity cooperative research centre Plant biosecurity cooperative research centre

The Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC) was established in recognition of the need to strengthen the plant biosecurity scientific capacity of Australia. We aim to develop and deploy scientific knowledge, tools, resources and capacity to safeguard Australia, its plant industries and regional communities from the economic, environmental and social consequences of damaging invasive plant pests and diseases. We do this by:

  • undertaking world class collaborative research
  • building biosecurity capacity through education and training
  • enhancing awareness through national and international community engagement, and
  • promoting community and enterprise development.