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Invasive Tilapia Research in Zambia Integrates Ecological, Policy, and Economic Issues


In June of 2007, GLOBES/IGERT trainee Andy Deines successfully completed a Real World Practicum experience that involved a six-week assessment trip to Zambia and Uganda to study the impact of Nile tilapia, a fish species used extensively in Africa for commercial and subsistence aquaculture. Accompanied by Ibrahim Garba, a law student at Notre Dame, Deines set out to meet and establish working relationships with stakeholders, acquire fisheries data, and assess several potential regions for more in depth ecological research.

These initial goals had successful outcomes and set the stage for the planning of further research products, the most important being the publication of the current spatial distribution and abundances of introduced tilapia species in Zambia. By using Zambia as a case study, such a report, combined with previously published information on tilapia in other parts of the world, will present the first meta-analysis of the impact of tilapia invasions world-wide. Deines’ trip benefited from a Memorandum of Understanding he helped execute between the WorldFish Center and Notre Dame’s Center for Aquatic Conservation. Deines recently made a poster presentation on his research at the University of Minnesota IGERT Symposium on Predicting Invasions where additional collaborations have been established to advance important components of his research, especially in the area of fish genetics and risk analysis.

Address Goals

The goal of Deines’ research is to investigate the ecological, economic, and social impacts of invasive tilapia as part of a team approach that integrates the skills and training imparted by the GLOBES/IGERT program at the University of Notre Dame. The long term goal of this research is to benefit managers and policy makers in Zambia and throughout the world concerned with the sustainability of important fish stocks and other natural resources.