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


The Murray-Darling freshwater research centre

The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre (MDFRC) is a Joint Venture between CSIRO and La Trobe University with uniquely located research laboratories at Albury/Wodonga and Mildura along the Murray River. The Centre has been in continuous operation since 1986.

Our mission is to undertake world-class research that increases our understanding of river, catchment and floodplain ecosystems, and to apply this understanding to support the sustainable management and conservation of natural resources. Research themes pursued by the center include:

  • Chemistry and biogeochemistry
  • Fish and fisheries ecology
  • Invertebrate community ecology
  • Floodplain and wetland vegetation ecology
  • Ecosystem Monitoring and assessment
  • Restoration and ecosystem management (including environmental water management).

Ecology and environmental studies

Research 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.

National Research Centres (2)

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


ARC 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.

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.