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News CEBioS mission in D.R. Congo

From March 6th until March 20th, CEBioS scientist Maarten Vanhove undertook a mission to the D.R.Congo within the framework of a South Initiative of the Flemish Interuniversity Council – University Development Cooperation (VLIR-UOS), entitled Capacity building for a better biological evaluation of the impact of mining in Katanga (D.R.Congo) on fishes and their aquatic habitats. See website.

Release date 14/05/2016
Contributor mlsusini
Geographical coverage DR Congo,
Keywords fish biology, mining, aquatic habitats,

This project includes partners at the University of Lubumbashi (UNILU) (Prof. A. Chocha Manda), the KU Leuven (Prof. J. Snoeks, Prof. F. Volckaert), the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Dr. E. Vreven, Dr. T. Huyse), the University of Antwerp (Prof. L. Bervoets), and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (CEBioS). Within UNILU, we collaborate with the Unité de Recherche en Biodiversité et Exploitation durable des Zones Humides and the students enrolled in the recently initiated master training Biodiversité et Exploitation durable des Zones Humides, a program allowing students to specialise in aspects like biodiversity, environmental sciences or aquaculture.

The main part of the mission was taken up by training in animal diversity and parasitology, especially aimed at allowing participants to better assess human impacts on the environment by using indicator taxa. For the field training, we specifically looked at fishes and fish parasites. Visits to field sites and aquaculture facilities were included, as practice for the students and to maintain contact with local stakeholders. Together with the project’s promotors, professors Snoeks and Chocha Manda, a short prospection was carried out around Kolwezi, exploring potential collaborations with the Université de Kolwezi (UNIKOL).

Both at UNILU and UNIKOL, the team was kindly received by the respective rector.

These activities also include an important South-South collaboration aspect. On the one hand, students enrolled in the abovementioned master program include teaching and scientific staff not only of UNILU, but also of other Congolese universities (Kolwezi, Kalemie, Kamina) and of the Centre de Recherche en Hydrobiologie in Uvira. On the other hand, we had the pleasure to introduce a team from the University of Limpopo (Prof. W. Luus-Powell, Dr. J. Sara, W. Smit) to our Congolese colleagues. The South African team specialises in fish diseases and their link with environmental quality, and visited UNILU for teaching, practical training and the exploration of further collaborations in this field.

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