Alistar Robertson

Emeritus Professor

  • The University of Western Australia (M090), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


I grew up on a farm in Western Victoria, Australia and trained at the University of Melbourne where I obtained undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in zoology.

Since receiving my PhD in 1979 I have held a number of research positions at universities and government laboratories in Australia and overseas. I am a marine and freshwater ecologist with a central focus on wetlands and riparian ecosystems. I have been lucky to do extensive field work in some fantastic places.

I joined UWA in 2002 as Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. I was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UWA in 2008. I retired as Pro Vice-Chancellor in mid 2013 and have joined the School of Biological as an Emeritus Professor and Senior Honorary Research Fellow.

Roles and responsibilities

I serve on Boards, Advisory Boards and Research Committees of a number of national joint venture research institutes and centres.
I also provide consultancy services in the area of research leadership, research governance and knowledge exchange.

Future research

• Environmental change and the ecology of wetland and terrestrial habitats
• Other topics as my mind runs free

Previous positions

• 2008-2013 Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) UWA
• 2002-2007 Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences UWA
• 1994-2002 Foundation Chair and Professor of Environmental Science and Director, Johnstone Centre for Research in Natural Resources and Society, Charles Sturt University
• 1993-1994 Senior Principal Research Scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science
• 1984-1993 Research Scientist-Principal Research Scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science
• 1981-1984 Research Fellow, CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research
• 1979-1980 Postdoctoral Fellow, Dalhousie University, Canada

Current projects

The assessment of research impact
Case studies of large collaborations in research
Publication of results from past research on mangrove and riverine ecosystems

Industrial relevance

I have always developed my research projects and programs to have relevance to the management and conservation of wetland habitats and catchments.To maximise opportunities for adoption of my findings I have worked with landholders and served on regional and national committees to influence decision making. For example, in past research supported by the Australian Research Council my group and I developed an approach for rapid appraisal of the ecological condition of riparian habitats - the Rapid Appraisal of Riparian Condition (RARC) that is now used by landholders and catchment managers across the Murray-Darling Basin, the wool growing areas of southern Australia and the northern tropics of Australia.


Plant-animal interactions and their effects on ecosystem processes in marine habitats. I have worked on vegetation dynamics and production, fish recruitment, trophodynamics and material cycles in seagrass, mangrove and continental shelf habitats in tropical Australia, Canada, New Guinea and South-East Asia.
Responses of river and floodplain ecosystems to multiple changes, including flow, invasive biota, clearing for agriculture and grazing by livestock.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research expertise keywords

  • Aquatic ecology
  • Plant–animal interactions and ecosystem function
  • Natural resource management


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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