The AGSVG provided 41 scholarships to attend the conference for recent graduates and students of horticulture, botany, plant sciences, ecology, environmental science, landscape architecture, design and construction, including stone masonry, and related disciplines.
The AGSVG offers small grants of up to $5000 each to meet its purposes of:
Eligible funded activities or projects may include one or more of the following:
The next round of the Australian Alpine Education and Research Grants is expected to open in early 2024.
This project aimed to:
• Capture the genetic diversity of Celmisia sericophylla across its entire range
• Determine how related populations are at different spatial scales within waterways (drainage lines and hillside seepages), between waterways, and between peaks
• Investigate the prevalence of vegetative vs sexual reproduction
• Determine patterns of gene flow within and between populations at both localised and landscape levels
• Utilise the conservation genetic information as the basis to a broader study on water stress and recruitment patterns for C. sericophylla and other co-occurring water-dependent plants.
This project will support the re-surveying of alpine vegetation transects at ‘Maisie’s Plots’ on the Bogong High Plains in the Victorian alps.
Funding provided by this grant facilitated fieldwork by experienced botanists to re-survey the transects in Maisie’s wetland plot (Rocky Valley) and grassland plot (Pretty Valley).
Following collation and storage of the data, a small digital or print brochure will be produced. This will be used to communicate the trends in alpine vegetation over almost 80 years since the plots were established, but just as importantly, to tell the story of the pioneering women that established them.
Maisie’s story deserves greater recognition, and the legacy of her scientific research will be supported by re-surveying the 2nd longest running ecological study in Australia.
This brochure will be intended for general audiences and can be provided to interested groups, land managers (e.g. Parks Victoria), and alpine resorts for distribution to the public. This brochure will communicate both the science and the story of Maisie Fawcett. This information is timely to present to the public, as Maisie’s Plots are currently being registered as a Site of Scientific Significance. With increasing summer tourism in the Victorian Alps, communicating the scientific importance of these plots, and the alps more generally, is increasingly important.
This project will research the Baw-Baw Berry, Wittsteinia vacciniacea, a rare Victorian endemic plant which has horticultural potential and is worthy of bringing into cultivation. It has a similar leaf form to Pachysandra terminalis, the latter being native to Japan, China and Korea, and already sold in the Victorian nursery industry. Thus, there is already a market for such a groundcover plant, but P. terminalis can have pest and disease problems.
By assessing the Baw-Baw Berry for its ease of propagation and cultivation at the RBG Cranbourne’s Research Garden, this would increase awareness of this rare Australian alpine plant to the general nursery plant-buying public.
The increased horticultural use of the Baw-Baw Berry would help protect the plant ex situ.
Meg Hirst and Russell Larke were awarded an Australian Alpine Education and Research grant in 2021. Their successful application tested a selection of alpine species for their horticultural potential. They were provided further funding to continue to develop a greater understanding and subsequent living collections of rare and threatened alpine taxa for amenity horticulture. They continued to strive to continue raising public awareness of plants at risk and how everyone can play their part in addressing plant loss and habitat degradation. They are testing new species, and therefore bringing new outcomes and deliverables whilst striving to reach their goal to raise public awareness on the plight of Victorian rare and threatened alpine plants (and their specialised habitats).
In this project they seek to engage the public with the plight of threatened Victorian alpine species by growing and displaying rare and threatened species in an easily accessible horticultural setting. Plants will be grown from seed and clonal material in containers and transplanted to outdoor research plots at the RBGV Cranbourne (that can be easily accessed by the public) to raise awareness using some of Victoria’s most visually engaging alpine flora. This project is unique and of value to conservation horticulture as all species considered for selection are listed as endangered, threatened, or vulnerable. The proposed species to expand their Alpine Collection are Austrostipa nivicola, Ranunculus victoriensis, Leucochrysum alpinum.
This project focused on the conservation and propagation of the rare Snowy Beard-Heath, Acrothamnus montanus which has a disjunct distribution and is confined to high-alpine areas in the Bogong High Plains in Kosciuszko National Park.
Alpine plant species are vulnerable to climate change, including the projected increased severity and frequency of bushfire. Like other alpine species in the plant family Ericaceae, A. montanus seeds display a complex dormancy, and attempts to germinate seeds for propagation by conservation seedbanks have for most part been unsuccessful or yielded in consistent and very low rates of germination.
This project surveyed existing populations of A. montanus in alpine areas of Vic and NSW, made seed collections for ex situ conservation, and conducted laboratory trials to investigate seed dormancy, and how to alleviate dormancy and stimulate germination of this rare alpine species.
Developing germination protocols for this ericaceous species will also inform propagation methods for other alpine species in the same plant family.
This project sought to engage the public with the plight of threatened Victorian alpine species by growing and displaying rare and threatened species in an easily accessible horticultural setting. Plants were grown from seed, in containers and transplanted to outdoor research plots at the RBGV Cranbourne (that can be easily accessed by the public) to raise awareness using some of Victoria’s most visually engaging alpine flora.
The aim of this project was to establish reliable propagation protocols with the view to preserve these species in ex situ living collections. Stock material was grown and kept in the RBGV nursery – Cranbourne. A research-focused approach was taken throughout the project, from documentation and optimisation of propagation methods using seed and cuttings through to assessment of plant growth and performance, both in containers and in-ground.
The three research activities included:
• Seed and seedling assessments
• Vegetative assessments
• Growth Trials (Research plots, nursery pot trials).
Infestation of Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila by ring-barker borers (Phoracantha mastersi) has been identified as the primary cause of decline and death of sub-alpine woodlands. Analysis of survey data has revealed that the likelihood and severity of infestations increases from the lower-elevational limit of E. pauciflora subsp. niphophila stands to the sub-alpine tree-line.
The role that disturbance plays in contributing to dieback is unclear. It also remains possible that localized outbreaks represent nothing more than ongoing sporadic expansion of insect infestations from isolated nodes in which outbreaks first arose stochastically during the twentieth century.
Current research, spread across three distinct Honours-level research projects, aims to address uncertainties associated with site-level factors that may contribute to infestation of sub-alpine forests by wood-borers.
This project researched pollination ecology in Kosciuszko National Park, and examined the impacts of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions in the Australian Alps. This research will help to monitor and predict climate impacts on plant reproduction in the Australian high country.
This work involved substantial periods of fieldwork in the spring and summer months, where the researcher collected data on Bogong moth pollination, flower microclimatic environments and plant-pollinator visitation networks across an elevational gradient.
To conduct this research, a thermal camera and a series of thermocouples (temperature measuring devices) on a range of flowering plants was utilised. The data collected informed our understanding of Alpine pollinator thermal preferences and microclimatic niches and lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms that underpin insect pollination and plant reproduction in the Alps.
The Alpine Snowpatch Vegetation Monitoring Project is an ongoing citizen science project that aims to encourage and promote community awareness of the importance of threatened snowpatch vegetation communities. The monitoring project collected long-term visual data with the aim of monitoring changes to the size and persistence of snow cover of two individual snowpatches within the alpine resorts of Falls Creek and Mount Hotham. By involving the community, through citizen science, in recording the seasonal variation of snow cover persistence over a number of years, participants will become better informed about the unique plant diversity in Australia’s alpine areas and the potential impacts of climate change on these plant communities.
Through this project, researchers and land managers will be able to better understand and predict potential changes to snowpatch vegetation communities which will be crucial for planning actions relating to ensuring species have the opportunity to adapt to changes in climate.
The project will provide an informative sign at each location describing the importance of snow to snowpatch communities and the species that are typically found in these areas. At this same location, a cradle that is in a fixed position will enable citizen scientists to put a smart phone or tablet on it to take a photo of the snowpatch. These images are then uploaded onto a data storage site, which will be publicly available. Updates of the data collected and further awareness about snowpatch communities were shared on the websites of Falls Creek and Mount Hotham and through updates from La Trobe University.
This project enabled the development and publication by the Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board of a flora field guide depicting common indigenous species found within the Mount Hotham Resort. The Board had already established a database of common indigenous species at Hotham and utilised the funding to develop the flora booklet, ready for publication on Mount Hotham’s website.
The booklet is designed for those interested in indigenous plants and the broader ecology of Mount Hotham Resort. The aim of this booklet is to increase community awareness of indigenous plants at Mount Hotham and provide a field guide that is specific to the Mount Hotham Resort and can be used by the public for flora identification on local bushwalks. It featured 72 common indigenous species found within the Resort and included an introduction to the various ecological environments at Hotham – alpine and subalpine, peatland, and included vegetation maps.
The booklet is available for the public digitally, accessed online via the Board website, and in printed version at the tourist information desk at the Resort Management Board offices at Hotham Heights and across local tourism information centres such as in Bright and Omeo.