Journals & Publications
- I am a full professor of environmental biology specialized in freshwater ecology, fisheries and biodiversity conservation. I obtained an honours BSc. in Biological Sciences and an MSc in Ecology from Moi University, Kenya in 1992 and 1995 respectively and a PhD in ecological genetics from Maseno University, Kenya / Universitaat Konstanz, Germany in 2005 undertaken through a German Academic Exchange Programme (DAAD) scholarship. My PhD focused on the role of Lake Victoria satellite lakes in the conservation of Lake Victoria cichlid fish genetic diversity.
- Since 1993, I have carried out sustained ecological research in wetland ecosystems conservation for sustainable development and fisheries population genetics research that has incorporated local communities and students as integral partners in research. I have worked mainly in the Yala swamp wetland, Kenya’s biggest freshwater wetland. To date, I have attracted over 19 national and international research grant funding including the BP Conservation Programme, The Ibaraki Kasumigaura Prize, Rufford Small Grant, the COMSTECH – TWAS Joint Research Grant, the Kenya National Council for Science and Technology (Kenya/South Africa Collaborative Research Grant (Grant No. SAK/2NDCALL/34), the Netherlands Initiative for Capacity Development in Higher Education (NICHE), the British Ecological Society Grant for Scientists in Africa and the National Geographic Society (NGS – 2 times) Explorers Grant. At Maasai Mara University I work with students and members of local communities in training on environmental sustainability and in tree planting and Narok town cleaning exercises as part of the Universities’ community engagement and outreach programmes.
- Currently I am the Principal Investigator of the UNESCO – TWAS and National Geographic Society funded research projects. My research is investigating the spatial and temporal changes in plankton community species diversity, distribution and abundance in ephemeral water bodies in Narok socio-ecological landscape. We asses structure and dynamics of plankton communities in the water pans in Narok in light of changing climatic conditions and land use changes. The goal is to generate empirical data on limnological dynamics of ASAL water bodies and effects of climate change and land use changes on such aquatic ecosystems. Findings from this study may inform policies and sustainable management and utilization of these and similar aquatic resources. My research is also employing participatory approaches to elicit local community perception of climate change and indigenous local knowledge and practices (ILK&P) regarding climate change. Such knowledge can inform targeted climate change mitigation and adaptation interventions.
Articles in refereed Journals
- Yvonne Wambui Githiora-Murimi, Margaret Awuor Owuor, Romulus
Abila, Daniel Olago & Silas Oriaso. Perceptions, trends and adaptation to climate change in Yala wetland, Kenya (2023). International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management. DOI: 10.1108/IJCCSM-07-2022-0089, (DOI to be activated in June 2023 after payment of Article Processing Fees).
- Yvonne Wambui Githiora-Murimi, Margaret Awuor Owuor, Romulus
Abila, Daniel Olago & Silas Oriaso (2022) Integrating stakeholder preferences into ecosystem
services mapping in Yala wetland, Kenya, Ecosystems and People, 18:1, 146-163, DOI:
- Doryce Ndubi and Romulus Abila Microbial Composition and Abundance in Drinking Water Sources in Narok. Journal of the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO. Vol. 1 (1) 179 – 187. Jan. – June 2021
- Samwel, M., Abila, R. and Mabwoga, S. (2021) Assessment of Climate Variability in Kisii Kenya and Its Implications on Food Security. American Journal of Climate Change, 10, 386-395. doi: 4236/ajcc.2021.104019.
- Jilani C. Chiro, Romulus Abila, Aggrey Thuo (2020) Effects of liquid waste management approaches in high end hotels on wastewater quality in Sekenani, Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya (2020) American Journal of Water Resources, 2020, Vol. 8 (4), 173-181. http://pubs.sciepub.com/ajwr/8/4/3,
- E. Barasa, S. Mdyogolo, R. Abila, J. P. Grobler, R. A. Skilton, M. N. Njahira, E. J. Chemoiwa, O. G. Dangasuk, B. Kaunda-Arara and E. Verheyen (2017) Genetic diversity and population structure of the African catfish, Clarias gariepinus (Burchell 1822) in Kenya: implication for conservation and aquaculture. Belgian Journal of Zoology 147 (2): 105 – 127. https://doi.org/10.26496/bjz.2017.9,
- Chemoiwa E.J.; Abila, R, Njenga, E.W. and Barasa, J (2017) Morphological Characterization and Relationship between Morphometric Parameters and Standard Length in Barbus altianalis (Boulenger, 1904) Populations in Lake Victoria Drainage Basin, Kenya. Annual Research & Review in Biology, 14(5): 1-11, 2017; Article no.ARRB.31984. ISSN: 2347-565X, NLM ID: 101632869 DOI https://doi.org/10.9734/ARRB/2017/31984.
- Abila, R. al. (2016). Oil extraction imperils Africa’s Great Lakes. Science, 354 (6312), 561-562. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6312/561,
- E. Barasa, R. Abila, J. P. Grobler, M. Agaba, E. J. Chemoiwa and B. Kaunda-Arara (2016) High genetic diversity, population structure and evolutionary change in Clariid catfishes of Yala swamp: Evidence from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Journal of Fish Biology, 89(3): 2557 – 2570. doi:10.1111/jfb.13150, www.wileyonlinelibrary.com.
- J. Paul Grobler, Sinobongo Ndyogolo, James Barasa, Romulus Abila, and Andre F.J. Schlemmer (2015) Genetic identification of invasive walking catfish C. batrachus intermingled with African catfish C. gariepinus in South Africa. African Journal of Wildlife Research 45(1): 55–62 (April 2015). https://doi.org/10.3957/056.045.0105
- J. E. Barasa, R. Abila, P. J. Grobler, G. O. Dangasuk, M. Njahira and B.K. Arara ( 2014) Genetic diversity and gene flow in Clarias gariepinus from Lakes Victoria and Kanyaboli, Kenya. African Journal of Aquatic Science. 39(3): 287–293 http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/16085914.2014.933734
- Nthenge A and R. Abila (2014) Dammed and Damned? Consequences of large scale land use changes on environment, livelihood and food security in the Yala swamp ecosystem, Kenya, East Africa. Int. Jnl. Adv. Res., 2(3), 1 – 13. ISSN 2320 – 9186.
- E. J. Chemoiwa, R. Abila, A. Macdonald, J. Lamb, E. Njenga, J. E. Barasa ( 2013) Genetic diversity and population structure of the endangered Ripon Barbel, Barbus altanialis (Boulenger, 1900) in Lake Victoria catchment, Kenya based on mitochondrial DNA sequences. J. Appl. Ichthyol. 29 (2013), 1225 – 1233. doi: 10.1111/jai.12313. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jai.12313/abstract,
- Abila R, Muthangya M, Mutuku E, Mutati K, Munguti M, Musyoka CM (2012) Physico – chemical and bacteriological quality assessment of shallow wells in Kitui town, Kenya. Env. Sci. Wat. Res 1 (2) 27 – 33.http://wudpeckerresearchjournals.org/JESWR/Pdf/2012/Mar/Abila%20et%20al.pdf,
- Abila R (2011) Preliminary gut content and dentition analysis reveal subtle resource partitioning and feeding adaptations within a haplochromine cichlid community of a Lake Victoria satellite lake. Afr. Jnl. Env. Sc. Tech. Vol. 5(6), pp. 457 – 463. June, 2011. http://www.academicjournals.org/ajest/PDF/pdf%202011/Jun/Abila.pdf,
- Paul O. Angienda, Hyuk Je Lee, Kathryn R. Elmer, Romulus Abila, Eliud N. Waindi and Axel Meyer (2011). Genetic structure and gene flow in an endangered native tilapia fish (Oreochromis esculentus) compared to invasive Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) in Yala swamp, East Africa. Conservation Genetics. 12:243–255. DOI 10.1007/s10592-010-0136-2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10592-010-0136-2,
- Abila, R, Walter Salzburger, Millicent F. Ndonga, Dickson Otieno Owiti, Marta Barluenga and Axel Meyer (2008) The role of the Yala swamp lakes in conservation of Lake Victoria basin haplochromine cichlids: evidence from genetic and trophic ecology studies. Lakes and Reservoirs: Research Management 13, 95 – 104. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1770.2008.00366.x,
- Abila, R (2005) Biodiversity and sustainable management of a tropical wetland lake ecosystem: A case study of Lake Kanyaboli, Kenya. FWU – Water Resources Publications 3, 1- 11. www3.uni-siegen.de/fb10/fwu/ww/publikationen/volume0305/pdf/abila.pdf). Cited by Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yala_Swamp.
- Abila, R, Marta Barluenga, Johanness Engelken, Axel Meyer and Walter Salzburger (2004) Population –structure and genetic diversity in a haplochromine cichlid of a satellite lake of Lake Victoria. Molecular Ecology (2004). 13, 2589 – 2602. www.evolutionsbiologie.uni-konstanz.de/pdf1-182/P163.pdf)
- Romulus Abila (2002). Utilization and economic valuation of the Yala swamp wetland, Kenya. In: Gawler, M. (Ed.). Best practices in participatory management. Proceedings of a workshop held at the 2nd International Conference on Wetlands and Development, Dakar, Senegal. Wetlands International. PP96 – 104. IUCN – WWF Publications No 65 Wageningen, The Netherlands. ISBN 90 -1882 – 0084. ( Available on line at: http://www.iucn.org/themes/wetlands/pdf/DakarProceed1.pdf)