Research Partners Program
The Research Partners Program (RPP) is a collaborative partnership involving Parks Victoria, universities and other research institutions to improve park management and ecological understanding by undertaking applied research.
The objectives of the RPP are to:
- Improve understanding of the natural values of the park system
- Build a strong body of knowledge to guide park management
- Encourage and support research into park management
- Encourage collaboration in scientific research and enable scientists and park managers to work together to enhance protection of parks
Research is conducted with members of the Research Partners Panel which includes:
- Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Management
- Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology (Royal Botanic Gardens and the University of Melbourne)
- Charles Sturt University
- Deakin University
- La Trobe University
- Monash University
- Primary Industries Research Victoria
- RMIT University
- Federation University Australia
- The University of Melbourne
How the RPP works
RPP brings together the scientific skills of our research partners with the park management skills of Parks Victoria.
There is collaboration at all levels - from project inception through to completion. This ensures projects provide answers to important questions for Parks Victoria while meeting the needs and interests of the researcher undertaking the research.
The scale of research ranges from short to long-term projects, integrating multiple projects and involving researchers from several institutions.
While most research is completed in collaboration with RPP members, we also commission specific research and work with other institutions when the research topic is specifically aligned with Parks Victoria’s needs or where expertise is not available.
The RPP makes a big difference to park management through:
- Improving knowledge and guiding state-wide and local-scale management decisions
- Improving the effectiveness of management programs
- Developing strong relationships between Parks Victoria and researchers
- Attracting additional support from funding bodies or other agencies which allows large, more complex research projects than Parks Victoria or our partners could achieve alone
- Contributing to ecological research and education with almost 300 projects initiated since the RPP began in 2000, over 150 post-graduate student projects supported, and many scientific publications and conference papers peer reviewed
A decision support framework for integrating species, pathway and area priorities for weed management in parks and reserves in Victoria
Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve and Dandenong Ranges, Chiltern-Mt Pilot, Lysterfield and Churchill National Parks
In partnership with Monash University, we undertook this project to develop a decision framework which will help manage weeds in protected areas. It provides a method that considers priority weed species, pathways of weed introduction and spread, and areas most susceptible to invasion.
A key to marine fauna and flora in Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary
Ricketts Point, Jawbone and Point Cooke Marine Sanctuaries
This project produced a guide book ‘The Urban Sanctuary: algae and Marine Invertebrates of Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary’ to give people a better understanding and appreciation of the marine life in the area. It was produced in partnership with RMIT and is used by Marine Care Ricketts Point and Friends groups at the Jawbone and Point Cooke Marine Sanctuaries.
Conceptual model development for key habitats in Victoria’s marine protected areas
All marine parks, marine sanctuaries and estuaries managed by Parks Victoria
Working with the University of Melbourne, we developed conceptual models and maps for key habitats in the following environments – seagrass, water column, soft sediments, estuaries, subtidal reef, intertidal reef, mangroves and saltmarsh. These models are used to inform management of marine protected areas and help us develop conservation outcomes.
Developing a rapid assessment technique to investigate ecological condition of soft-sediment habitats in marine national parks
Churchill Island, French Island and Yaringa Marine National Parks
In partnership with La Trobe and Deakin Universities and Museum Victoria, we undertook a survey to gather baseline data on the macroinvertebrate communities living in Western Port’s marine protected areas. This project improved our understanding of marine life in the area and provided valuable information toward developing rapid assessment monitoring techniques for soft sediment environments.
Exploring the flooding tolerance of two ecologically important woody riparian plant species
Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve (NCR)
This project focused on two species in a very rare plant community that only occurs in Yellingbo NCR, which provides important habitat for the critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater and Leadbeater’s Possum. Working with the University of Melbourne, we assessed the plant species’ ability to cope with waterlogging and flooding, to inform future management of the site.
Northern Mallee Parks Geometric Mean Abundance Scenario Testing
Murray Sunset and Hattah-Kulkyne National Parks
Fire shapes ecosystems across Victoria and is widely used as a management tool. We can use it as a tool to manage vegetation and maintain good habitat for native animals. We worked with the University of Melbourne to better understand how to use a particular way of measuring how many native animals are in an area - the geometric mean of species’ relative abundance (GMA) - to set fire management objectives in protected areas.
Recovery of ecosystems after removal of Pittosporum undulatum (Sweet Pittosporum)
Dandenong Ranges National Park, Panton Hill G144 Bushland Reserve, Devils Bend Natural Features Reserve and Red Hill South Bushland Reserve
This project looked at long-term data to understand how plant communities have recovered after the removal of an aggressive and overabundant native species, Sweet Pittosporum. Monash University helped identify best-practice management techniques for restoring ecosystems and managing invasive species over time.