James Omondi Outa presented his PhD results

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Our APPEAR scholar from Kenya is in the final year of his PhD study at the University of Vienna. His thesis investigates the ecological status of Africa’s largest lake.

The work covers ecotoxicology: heavy metal pollution of water and sediment and accumulation in aquatic food products consumed by the local population. The work also involves investigation of the parasite fauna of snails and commercial fish with highlights into their bio-indicative aspects and the veterinary and medical implications.

During the 35th Ichthyoparasitological Symposium from 27th to 29th of June 2019 at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany he presented a paper on “Larval stages of trematodes in snails from Lake Victoria, Kenya”. The conference covered all areas of aquatic parasitology; including ecology of aquatic parasites, environmental parasitology and veterinary and medical aspects. The symposium drew together postgraduate students and established researchers from Europe and beyond.

This study investigated the occurrence of larval stages of trematodes (flukes) in snails from the Kenyan part of Lake Victoria - Africa’s largest inland surface water body. The flukes have complex life cycles, involving snails as their first intermediate hosts, and their subsequent development occurs in a variety of vertebrates including fish, livestock and human beings. This study comprehensively looked into various groups of snails, including species that have not been examined in many parasitological studies in Africa. Rare and novel findings are presented, with descriptions of some specimens that do not match existing literature records. The spatial distribution of the snail parasites, in relation to pollution in the lake provides new insights into their potential use as bioindicators. Out of the sixteen trematode species that were described, four were identified to have veterinary and medical importance.

James Omondi Outa has a background in BSc Botany, Zoology and Chemistry, and holds an MSc degree in Limnology from Egerton University, Kenya. Prior to commencing his PhD studies, he worked for Maseno University of Kenya in a research collaboration with Nagasaki University of Japan, where he was involved in water quality studies in Lake Victoria from 2014-2016. He is passionate about aquatic ecology research and is a member of the Eastern Africa Water Association (EAWA) and The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR).