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     Participants of the 2006 FishBase training session (© RMCA)

Since 2005 the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) hosts an annual, comprehensive training session on FishBase and fish taxonomy. This three month training session is held alternately in English and in French, and is intended for five African scientists with an interest and expertise in African fresh- and brackish water fishes.



How to apply?




  • to discover FishBase and to learn how to find relevant information in this database;
  • to improve practical skills and to strengthen theoretical background in fish taxonomy;
  • to transfer newly apprehended skills to new/local users of FishBase and to students at the home institution;
  • to help in completing FishBase, keeping it up to date and spreading its use.


The training session comprises three main components:

A. FishBase

During interactive lessons the encyclopaedic character of FishBase and the practical use of FishBase data is illustrated. Following topics are discussed: 


  • the history of FishBase;
  • the contribution of the RMCA to FishBase;
  • different subjects covered in FishBase such as nomenclature, zoogeography, trophic ecology, fisheries and aquaculture, etc.; 
  • FishBase tools such as the identification tool, point maps, trophic pyramids and the life history tool.

Finally, trainees have the opportunity to discover FishBase themselves with some practical excercises. These exercises and the PDFs of the theoretical lessons are available below

B. Fish taxonomy 

This part of the training comprises theoretical sessions on the systematics of fishes, the principles of taxonomy, the statistical methods used to analyze morphometric and meristic data and on how to properly gather, preserve and manage specimens for a reference collection.

By executing practical exercises on the identification of fishes ('Fish of the week') the trainees become familiar with identifcation keys, literature and important characters used for the identification of certain fish taxa. 

C. Case study 

In this part the trainees implement the theory of the two previous parts and individually conduct a taxonomic study of a group for which taxonomic problems have been encountered. This case study involves:

  • measurement of specimens;
  • data management and statistical analyses;
  • critical interpretation of the results;
  • report writing and presentation of final results.


How to apply?


 The 2018 'FishBase and Fish Taxonomy' training session will be held from 05 March 2018 until 25 May 2018 in French.


Download the call for applications (pdf 173kb) and the application form (word doc, 389kb) for the 2018 edition.
Apply before 20 December 2017!


Questions regarding the application procedure? Please contact Mrs. Muriel Van Nuffel ( 


  • Call for applications

Call for the 2018 'FishBase and Fish Taxonomy' training session at the RMCA.

(pdf - 173kb)
  • Application form
-Application form for the 2018 'FishBase and Fish Taxonomy' training session at the
(word doc - 389kb)


  • Course material (2015 edition)
Introduction to RMCA activities
(pdf - 1,9 MB)
Systematics of fishes
(pdf - 3,9 MB)
Making and managing a collection
(pdf - 2,2 MB)
Writing an article
(pdf - 3,4 MB)
(pdf - 583 kB)
Zoogeography (I - II - III)
(pdf - 1,4 - 1,3 - 1,5 MB)
Dataset formatting & PAST
(pdf - 930 kB)
Morphometric Data Analysis
(pdf - 62,0 kB)
(pdf - 1,4 MB)
Pictures & GMM
(pdf - 1,6 MB)
(pdf - 255 kB)
FishBase alumni network
(pdf - 1,3 MB)
FishBase: Introduction
(pdf - 932 kB)
FishBase: Morphology & Identification
(pdf - 3,0 MB)
FishBase: Common names
(pdf - 505 kB)
FishBase: Nomenclature
(pdf - 1,8 MB)
FishBase: Trophic ecology
(pdf - 1,2 MB)
FishBase: Life history & Reproduction
(pdf - 1,4 MB)
FishBase: Population dynamics
(pdf - 1,9 MB)
FishBase: Physiology & Genetics
(pdf - 1,8 MB)
FishBase: Fisheries & Aquaculture
(pdf - 3,0 MB)
FishBase: who is who?
(pdf - 345 kB)
FishBase: Web statistics
(pdf - 523 kB)
FishBase: Parasitology & Pathology
(pdf -  2,0 MB)



  • FishBase exercises
-FishBase exercises 2011 with answers              

Download (docx - 35,5 kB)     

-FishBase exercises 2013 without answers 

Download (docx - 25,1 kB)


  • Presentations of the training session
-The 'FishBase and Fish Taxonomy' training session at the RMCA: a brief introduction. 

Download (pdf - 1,3 MB)

-Presentation of the 'FishBase and Fish Taxonomy' training session at the 5th PAFFA Conference (Bujumbura, 16-21 September 2013).

Download (pdf - 2,2 MB)


  • FishBase book
-FishBase book Preface (edition 2000)          

Download (pdf - 96 kB) 

-FishBase book (edition 2000)    

Download (pdf - 1,9 MB)    


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