Training course on FishBase and fish taxonomy
- Training on the use of FishBase and on the taxonomy of African fish
- For 5 African scientists
- 3 month course
- Organised at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium
2021 training (in English): 1 March - 21 May 2021
Deadline for application: 10 January 2021.
Due to the present critical sanitary situation in Belgium due to the COVID 19 virus, the training has been postponed. The new tentative dates are from 13 September until 3 December 2021. The selection of participants is still in process and the results should be announced by end March 2021.
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.
- 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:
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 will be made available for download soon.
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.
Course material of previous courses is available for download here: