Photo of Alistar Robertson

Alistar Robertson

Emeritus Professor

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

    6009 Perth


  • 962 Citations
  • 13 h-Index
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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 Plant Biology as an Emeritus Professor.

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.


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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Alistar Robertson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 5 Similar Profiles
floodplain Earth & Environmental Sciences
river Earth & Environmental Sciences
wetland Earth & Environmental Sciences
habitat Earth & Environmental Sciences
mangrove Earth & Environmental Sciences
floodplains Agriculture & Biology
rivers Agriculture & Biology
arid zones Agriculture & Biology

Research Output 2001 2016

  • 962 Citations
  • 13 h-Index
  • 19 Article
  • 1 Conference paper
  • 1 Other chapter contribution
  • 1 Literature review
13 Citations (Scopus)

Massive turnover rates of fine root detrital carbon in tropical Australian mangroves

Robertson, A. & Alongi, D. M., 2016, In : Oecologia. 180, 3, p. 841-851

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

fine root
2 Citations (Scopus)

Scale-dependent lateral exchanges of organic carbon in a dryland river during a high-flow experiment

Robertson, A., Burns, A. & Hillman, T. J., 1 Jul 2016, In : Marine and Freshwater Research. 67, 9, p. 1293-1301

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

arid lands
dissolved organic carbon
organic carbon
1 Citation (Scopus)

A review of Australian institutions for riparian adaptation to climate change

Pittock, J., Marshall, N. A., Capon, T., Parsons, M., Robertson, A. & Casaril, C., 1 Sep 2014, In : Journal of Water and Climate Change. 5, 3, p. 315-327

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

indigenous knowledge
climate change
riparian zone
social network

From Myth to Reality: New Pathways for Northern Development

Dale, A., Douglas, M., Robertson, A., Wallace, R., Davies, P. & Campbell, A., 2014, Northern Development Summit - Townsville. University, J. C. (ed.). Townsville: James Cook University, p. 1-14

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperOther chapter contribution

24 Citations (Scopus)

Early fish growth varies in response to components of the flow regime in a temperate floodplain river

Tonkin, Z. D., King, A. J., Robertson, A. & Ramsey, D. S. L., 2011, In : Freshwater Biology. 56, p. 1769-1782

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Projects 2000 2007