The world faces a crisis risking extinction of species through global warming and other anthropogenic impacts. Due to the changes in land use and destruction of habitats, tropical rainforests and woodlands, mangrove forests and coral reefs are disappearing and with them ecosystem functions, goods and services on which human populations depend. In order to conserve nature, to manage or to rehabilitate tropical biodiversity and ecosystems in an era of uncertainty, we must understand spatial and temporal patterns in tropical biodiversity, study how organisms interact with their environment and how they respond to perturbations and change, and assess utilisation patterns, management and governance systems. This is dealt with in this unique master’s programme combining theory, practice and independent research

TUM sets to be a focal point for East African pool in the Erasmus Mundus joint Master degree in tropical bio-diversity and eco-systems (TROPIMUNDO) programme

On 2nd August 2021 TUM VC Prof. Laila Abubakar was delighted to receive Prof. Dr. Farid DahDouh- Guebas from Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and also associated with Vrije’ Universitet Brussel (VUB) - a renowned researcher in marine ecology specifically on mangrove ecosystems. His research activities can be traced from way back in 1993 at Gazi Bay in Kwale County. His visit was attributed to the ongoing vibrant TUM’s programme in Marine and Fisheries Sciences currently offering both undergraduate and post-graduate training at Kwale Campus and the Main Campus.

Aside from his expertise in the field of marine ecology, Prof. Farid is the General Coordinator of the TROPIMUNDO programme - a European Commission funded master degree program on Tropical Biodiversity and ecosystems with a full semester of class and field courses in the tropics. The program aims at bringing together experts from higher learning institutions with long standing worldwide expertise on tropical rainforest, woodlands and tropical coastal and marine ecosystems.

The program is currently based in Belgium at ULB and already with local centers and contacts in Congo and Malaysia.

TUM partnership is to expand future local centers for this program in East Africa, talks have commenced in making Technical University of Mombasa the focal point for the East African pool.

In attendance were the Deputy Vice Chancellor- Academic Research and Extension, Prof. Peter Gichangi, The Dean- Applied and Health Sciences Dr. Rahma Udu, Assistant Registrar – Research Partnership and Innovations, Mr. Hamisi Jitta, Dr. Mohammed Omar- a principal scientist in Kenya World life Training and Research Institute and Dr. Cosmas Munga – Chairperson, Department of Environment and Health Sciences, and the contact person between TUM and ULB TROPIMUNDO Programme.

TROPIMUNDO students can concentrate on botany, zoology and integrative ecosystem approaches in institutions with and beyond Europe in 2 Master years, of which an entire semester is spent in the tropics. Specialisation is possible on the evolution of tropical flora and vegetation, on faunistic assemblages, on informatics tools to treat and manage biodiversity data and databases (biogeographical, genetical, geographical information systems) including the management and conservation of historic collections such as herbarium sheets, on the study of diversity, dynamics and evolution of tropical and subtropical ecosystems (with a focus on four related systems, namely tropical rainforests and woodlands, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs, including the interactions between flora, fauna, man and the environment within and between each of these adjacent ecosystems), on conservation and restoration ecology of natural habitats and their biodiversity including competences in sustainable management and governance of biodiversity, and finally, on tropical ethnobotany, exploitation and valorisation of natural resources and conservation of traditional ecological knowledge.