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1972 …2021

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Personal profile

Areas of expertise

My research interest is in ecology of microorganisms in freshwaters. I graduated in Botany at University of Liège, Belgium, I began my research career with a PhD on the ecology of benthic diatoms in lowland rivers and their use for monitoring water quality. In the beginning of the 1980s, I became involved in research on potamoplankton, in the framework of impact assessment of nuclear plants on the R. Meuse. This is when I began collaborating with a team of modellers and discovered these techniques.
In 1986, I moved to University of Namur and began teaching biology and ecology of plants, while pursuing my research in potamoplankton. Later on I got involved in research on African lakes, with the supervision of a PhD in lake Muhazi, Rwanda, and with a first "discovery" of Lake Kivu in 1990. In 1996, I did a sabbatical at University of Wisconsin, Madison, where I learned everything on HPLC analysis of pigments.
The 2000s began with a research program on Lake Tanganyika and the coordination of the CLIMLAKE project, involving collaboration of the Belgian teams with African teams. At the same time, I went back to Lake Kivu and we started studying this lake. That's where our interest for picoplankton and heterotrophic protists, and the microbial loop, developed, with several projects carried out with my graduate and PhD students.

I am still active at University of Liège, in the Chemical Oceanography Unit led by A.V. Borges, who is known internationally for his work on greenhouse gasses emissions, both from marine and freshwater environments. https://www.co2.uliege.be/cms/c_5622303/en/co2. Ongoing research is on ecology of great tropical lakes (e.g. Lake Edward, Lake Victoria, Lake Mai-Ndombe, Lake Albert), in collaboration with teams from Belgium and abroad.


My expertise in algal ecology and biological assessment of water quality is still useful for the determination of the ecological status of water bodies, notably in the context of monitoring cyanobacteria blooms, of stream restoration and of ecological impact of power plants.


Since I was a young boy, I have been fishing, mainly in rivers, using different techniques, from the worm to the fly, but I have specialised in fly-fishing since the 1970s: I tie flies and cast nymphs and dry flies in running waters.

 

External responsibilities

- Member of the Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences, Belgium
- Member of the board of Stream & River Consult
- Reviewer for ~40 scientific journals

Awards

- Crépin Prize, 1976, awarded by the Royal Botanical Society, Belgium (Société Royale de Botanique de Belgique)

- Innovation Prize 2000, awarded by Suez-Lyonnaise des Eaux for contributing to studies on the impact of nuclear power plants on the aquatic ecosystem

- Blue Ribbon of University of Sofia Kliment Ohridski (2013)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

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