Published: 2018-12-20

This volume was first published in 2017 as "Researching functional ecology in Kosciuszko National Park", edited by Hannah Zurcher, Chia Ming-Dao, Michael Whitehead and Adrienne Nicotra, by ANU eView, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia (ISBN: 9781921934407 ebook). It was made available here in 2019.

Take 30 undergraduates and 20 experts from the Research School of Biology at The Australian National University, and put them together for 10 days in the high-altitude environment of Kosciuszko National Park in the Australian Alps. Challenge them to first identify research questions of potential importance to the survival of one of Australia’s unique ecosystems under threat from climate change, and then to answer those questions in scientifically rigorous and competent ways.

The successful outcomes of this challenge are evidenced in this volume of selected and fully peer-reviewed papers. They are all written by students who—after intense pre-field preparation—isolated intriguing research questions, postulated hypotheses, collected and analysed data, and interpreted their findings in the context of functional ecology theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence in the scientific literature. The experts acted as guides and supporters rather than lead researchers, so that the students—most of whom were at the end of their first year of studies—were all tasked with fully realising the concept of self-actuated research. This book has much to offer ecologists, plant and animal scientists, protected area managers and anyone else interested in knowing more about the species of Kosciuszko National Park and how they live, survive, behave and interact.

This book is also a showcase of just how much can be accomplished by bright and enthusiastic students who are trusted and guided to use their scientific and ecological knowledge and skills immediately. Much of the knowledge made available in these papers would simply not have seen the light of day except for this innovative intensive approach to research-based education. It is reassuring to know that the future of ecological research is in such capable hearts and minds!


Investigation of the niche partitioning of selected Ranunculaceae species in Kosciuszko National Park along a soil moisture gradient, by comparison of hydraulic characteristics

Angela Stoddard, Tess Walsh Rossi, Cameron McArthur, Sarah Stock, Ming-Dao Chia, Hannah Zurcher, Chen Liang, Christine Mauger, Julia Hammer
Abstract 142 | PDF Downloads 109

Analysing phenotypic variation in Eucalyptus pauciflora across an elevation gradient in the Australian Alps

Giles Young, Islay Andrew, Kristi Lee, Xiaoyn Li, Rachael Robb, Isabella Robinson, Holly Sargent, Bronte Sinclair
Abstract 222 | PDF Downloads 124

Circadian rhythms and leaf characteristics of subalpine Eucalyptus pauciflora: The effects of environmental exposure on photosynthetic machinery

Christine Mauger, Julia Hammer, Chen Liang, Cameron McArthur, Angela Stoddard
Abstract 81 | PDF Downloads 88

Thermal acclimation of photosynthesis and respiration in Eucalyptus pauciflora of varying growth temperatures in Kosciuszko National Park

Caitlin McLeod, Cynthia Turnbull, Gregory Gauthier-Coles, You Zhou, Ainsley Maurer, Ray Zhang, Tanja Cobden, Yvonne Yong
Abstract 139 | PDF Downloads 131

Why do alpine plants grow where they do?

Susanna Venn
Abstract 50 | PDF Downloads 49

Mortality or more-tile-ity: Tiling response to temperature and humidity extremes in Agrotis infusa

Hannah Zurcher, Chen Liang, Ming-Dao Chia, Sarah Stock, Tess  Walsh-Rossi
Abstract 167 | PDF Downloads 63

The effect of body mass on the mass specific metabolic rate of Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii and Eulamprus quoyii

Yvonne Yong, Ainsley Maurer, Caitlin McLeod, You Zhou
Abstract 69 | PDF Downloads 58

Predicting ectotherm vulnerability to climate warming: Comparing preferred and actual body temperatures in Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii

Julia Hammer, Hannah Zurcher, Christine Mauger, Chen Liang, Ming-Dao Chia, Tess Walsh-Rossi, Angela Stoddard, Cameron McArthur, Sarah Stock
Abstract 162 | PDF Downloads 80

Sprint speed capacity of two alpine skink species, Eulamprus kosciuskoi and Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii

Isabella Robinson, Bronte Sinclair, Holly Sargent, Xiaoyun Li
Abstract 90 | PDF Downloads 69

Behavioural thermoregulation of alpine birds in response to low temperature in early summer

You Zhou, Ainsley Maurer, Tanja Cobden, Yvonne Yong, Ray Zhang, Gregory Gauthier-Coles, Caitlin McLeod, Cynthia Turnbull
Abstract 315 | PDF Downloads 134

Salt-seeking behaviour of mammals and ants in a low-sodium Australian alpine environment

Rachael Robb, Bronte Sinclair, Islay Andrew, Kristi Lee, Xiaoyun Li, Isabella Robinson, Holly Sargent, Giles Young
Abstract 218 | PDF Downloads 97

A rose in any other shade: Is alpine flower pollinator distribution driven by colour?

Hannah Zurcher, Ming-Dao Chia, Julia Hammer
Abstract 111 | PDF Downloads 75

Research-based learning: Designing the course behind the research

Elizabeth A. Beckmann, Xénia Weber, Michael Whitehead, Adrienne Nicotra
Abstract 137 | PDF Downloads 66