Background

The threats to aquatic biodiversity in Uganda are clearly visible, and they include over exploitation, habitat degradation (driven largely by human activities in the catchments), invasive species, climate change, and infrastructure development (e.g. hydro-electric power dams, oil and gas development). These threats clearly need a strong focus on conservation of freshwater biodiversity.

More... Uganda has a number of generalized policies and conservation plans related to safeguarding life under water; however, these plans have not yielded positive results as many species remain threatened. First, these conservation plans are not based on reliable biodiversity data; and second, the plans fail to match the magnitude of the threats that vary in different areas across the country. Freshwater systems in Uganda are experiencing declines in biodiversity far greater than those in the most affected terrestrial ecosystems. One example of such losses is the disappearance of 200 of the 300+ endemic haplochromine fauna in Lake Victoria representing the greatest loss of vertebrate species globally. If data are not made available to easily appreciate such losses, increase awareness of the need to conserve freshwater biodiversity at all levels (communities, Government, NGOs, schools), and develop evidence—driven policies aimed at site—based conservation and rethinking of extent of protected areas, species losses will continue and the opportunity to conserve much of the remaining rich biodiversity will vanish.

To mitigate this, the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute, in partnership with the Department of Zoology, Entomology, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, with support from Europen Union, https://www.gbif.org/project/5MKPHm718koog2OYmgqKKI/increasing-capacity-for-conservation-of-threatened-fish-species-through-data-mobilization-and-training, is mobilising occurrence data on all freshwater ecosystems in Uganda. With the data available in user—friendly formats, data users affiliated to government or civil society, such as the Directorate of Water Resources Management, Ministry of Water and Environment and National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) will improve on their roles and contribution to conservation, while research and training institutions will easily update their teaching tools. Policy making and management institutions will find more justification for protecting sensitive ecosystems, development of data driven policies for conservation, rethinking extent of protected areas, while some new areas that need protection may emerge. The data will be published with GBIF at https://www.gbif.org/publisher/4f3d98d3-f69a-4929-9291-6c35340b6711

Key Objectives and activities

The specific objectives are:
1. To mobilize data on at least 10,000 fish records from Uganda's aquatic systems (including lakes, rivers and streams, and wetlands);

More... 2. Identify and train scientists active in monitoring and management of fish biodiversity data in the use of data publishing tools;
3. Create awareness among policy makers in use of biodiversity information for decision making
The key activities are:
1. Data needs assessment. The project will contact, during its initial stages, all potential users of biodiversity information and carry out data needs assessment specific to different users. This will guide on the details, type and formats of fish biodiversity data mobilised or published
More... 2. Data mapping. Identity data holders (besides NaFIRRI) actively involved in research, monitoring and managing biodiversity data from various institutions in the country through administering a questionnaire
3. Training and capacity enhancement for data mobilisation, management and publishing. A five-day skills and capacity enhancement workshop will be convened to train scientists, especially those in custody of fish biodiversity data, on best practices for handling collections, biodiversity data collection, management (entry, checking, storage, retrieval, and presentation), and publishing. The identified participants will be trained in preparation of manuscripts for publishing data in data journals and repositories including GBIF. The Uganda Biodiversity Information Facility Node representative will be invited to lead in specific modules of the training
4. Data formatting and publishing. After the training workshop, the collaborator at NaFIRRI will clean, validate, format all the datasets according to GBIF publication standard and publish them on both the UgaBIF and GBIF websites
5. Preparation of dissemination packages. User–friendly non–specialist information packages such as posters, brochures and factsheets will be prepared and used during dissemination meetings
6. Stakeholder engagement and production of a policy brief. Towards the end of the project, the collaborator from Makerere will mobilise policy makers to incorporate fish biodiversity data into conservation policies, and will produce at least one policy brief to aid policy planning and conservation of fish biodiversity.

Planned outputs

1. Mobilised data on at least 10,000 records of fish species collections

More... 2. Enhanced skills and capacity in data publishing and sharing
3. Formatted datasets of fish records published on GBIF and UgaBIF websites
4. Increased awareness of biodiversity data and use in policy decisions

Planned outcomes

1. Improved data for conservation meta—analyses and ecosystem modelling.

More... 2. Research and training institutions will easily update teaching tools and impart better knowledge to students who are future conservation actors.
3. Policy making and management institutions will find more justification for protecting sensitive ecosystems, development of data driven policies for conservation, rethinking extent of protected areas, while some new areas that need protection may emerge
4. Infrastructural developments will be planned with freshwater biodiversity in consideration
5. Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) will be current and authoritative.

Progress todate

1.Completed capacity self-assessment questionnaire for data holding institutions.

More... 2. We have registered NaFIRRI as a publisher, with enodrsement from GBIF Uganda node. https://www.gbif.org/publisher/4f3d98d3-f69a-4929-9291-6c35340b6711
3. A representative of the project team attended a training workshop, but the certification process will end on 21st January 2017, and certificate has not been issued.
4. The CE trainee has held in-house demonstrations with the data mobilisation team, while wider capacity enhancement seminars including all data holders will take place in February and March 2018. https://www.dropbox.com/s/cdxuytcw0v3596v/BID-AF2017-0206-SMA_inhouse_demonstrations_by_CE_workshop_trainee_and_digitization_of_data_from_field_reports_in_progress.zip?dl=0
5. The first phase of data mapping has been completed, but this is expected to continue as more data holders are identified. Report found at Report found at https://labanmusinguzi.com/2018/01/15/report-fish-biodiversity-data-users-and-data-holders-in-uganda/
6. Completed capacity self-assessment questionnaire for data holding institutions https://www.gbif.org/document/82785/self-assessment-guidelines-for-data-holding-institutions (EN) https://www.gbif.org/document/82813/modele-dauto-evaluation-pour-les-institutions-detentrices-de-donnees (FR)
7. At least one data publishing institution is registered with GBIF.org Guidelines to become a publisher: https://www.gbif.org/become-a-publisher
8. At least one person from the project team has completed the certification process following the BID Capacity Enhancement workshop on Data Mobilization organized as a part of the BID programme Africa 2015 or the BID programme Africa 2017
9. Knowledge dissemination activities have been scheduled following the BID Capacity Enhancement workshop on Data Mobilization

Principle Investigator

Vianny Natugonza is the Biodiversity Information for Development Project coordinator at NaFIRRI. Vianny previously worked with William Darwall of International Union for Conservation of Nature (Freshwater Unit) to review red list assessments of 82 fish species in the Lake Victoria basin, and newly assess extinction risk of some haplochromine cichlids

more... from Koki lakes, Uganda, where he gained valuable experience in species red list assessments and assessment reviews. Vianny has published multiple scientific papers and reports, and holds an M.Sc. from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, a post—graduate certificate in FishBase and Fish Taxonomy from RMCA, Turvuren, Belgium, and a joint post—graduate diploma in Marine and Inland Water Resources Assessmet from United Nations University and Marine Research Institute, Reykjavic, Iceland. He is currently undertaking a PhD in Ecological Modelling at the University of Iceland.