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He is an Associate Professor and an ecologist. He is interested in understanding causes and threats to species diversity as well as elucidating species – environment – people interactions especially those of endangered species or environments. I seek to understand the effects of ecological, demographic and environmental processes on the genetic diversity of endangered species. My research lines combine the use of field studies on natural populations, molecular genetic techniques and analytical tools in ecology, population genetics and phylogenetics.  The overall objective is to obtain scientific information that can be incorporated into the conservation and management of biological resources. My research further involves employment of the ecosystem management approach to conservation and management of biological resources by harnessing environmental services and capacity building among long communities to undertake conservation for sustainable development programmes. My research interests therefore span ecology, conservation and socio economics.

Articles in Refereed Journals

  • J. Paul Grobler, Sinobongo Ndyogolo, James Barasa, Romulus Abila, and Andre F.J. Schlemmer (2015)   Genetic identification of invasive walking catfish C. batrachus intermingled with  African catfish C. gariepinus in South Africa. African Journal of Wildlife Research 45(1): 55–62 (April 2015)
  • J. E. Barasa, R. Abila, P. J. Grobler, G. O. Dangasuk, M. Njahira and B.K. Arara ( 2014) Genetic diversity and gene flow in Clarias gariepinus from Lakes Victoria and Kanyaboli, Kenya. African Journal of Aquatic Science. 39(3): 287–293
  • Nthenge A and R. Abila (2014) Dammed and Damned? Consequences of large scale land use changes on environment, livelihood and food security in the Yala swamp ecosystem, Kenya, East Africa. Int. Jnl. Adv. Res., 2(3), 1 – 13. ISSN 2320 – 9186.
  • E. J. Chemoiwa, R. Abila, A. Macdonald, J. Lamb, E. Njenga, J. E. Barasa ( 2013) Genetic diversity and population structure of the endangered Ripon Barbel, Barbus altanialis (Boulenger, 1900) in Lake Victoria catchment, Kenya based on mitochondrial DNA sequences. J. Appl. Ichthyol. 29 (2013), 1225 - 1233. doi: 10.1111/jai.12313. Available online at:,
  • Abila R, Muthangya M, Mutuku E, Mutati K, Munguti M, Musyoka CM (2012) Physico - chemical and bacteriological quality assessment of shallow wells in Kitui town, Kenya. Jnl. Env. Sci. Wat. Res 1 (2) 27 – 33. Available online at:,
  • Abila R (2011) Preliminary gut content and dentition analysis reveal subtle resource partitioning and feeding adaptations within a haplochromine cichlid community of a Lake Victoria satellite lake.  Afr. Jnl. Env. Sc. Tech. Vol. 5(6), pp. 457 – 463. June, 2011. ( Available online at:
  • Paul O. Angienda, Hyuk Je Lee, Kathryn R. Elmer, Romulus Abila, Eliud N. Waindi and Axel Meyer (2011). Genetic structure and gene flow in an endangered native tilapia fish (Oreochromis esculentus) compared to invasive Nile tilapia (Oreochromis  niloticus) in Yala swamp, East Africa. Conservation Genetics. 12:243–255. DOI 10.1007/s10592-010-0136-2. (Available on line at:
  • Abila, R, Walter Salzburger, Millicent F. Ndonga , Dickson Otieno Owiti, Marta Barluenga and Axel Meyer (2008) The role of the Yala swamp lakes in  conservation of Lake Victoria basin haplochromine cichlids: evidence from genetic and trophic ecology studies. Lakes and Reservoirs: Research Management 13, 95 – 104. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1770.2008.00366.x  (Available online at, ).
  • Abila, R (2005) Biodiversity and sustainable management of a tropical  wetland lake ecosystem: A case study of Lake Kanyaboli, Kenya. FWU – Water Resources Publications 3, 1- 11. (Available online at Cited by Wikipedia 
  • Abila, R,  Marta Barluenga, Johanness Engelken, Axel Meyer and Walter Salzburger (2004)  Population –structure and genetic diversity in a haplochromine cichlid of a satellite lake of Lake Victoria. Molecular Ecology (2004). 13, 2589 – 2602. (Available online at
  • Romulus Abila (2002). Utilization and economic valuation of the Yala swamp wetland, Kenya. In: Gawler, M. (Ed.). Best practices in participatory management. Proceedings of a workshop held at the 2nd International Conference on Wetlands and Development, Dakar, Senegal. Wetlands International. PP96 – 104.  IUCN – WWF Publications No 65 Wageningen, The Netherlands. ISBN 90 -1882 – 0084. ( Available on line at: A. Article under review.
  • J. E. Barasa, S. Mdyogolo,  R. Abila, J. P. Grobler, R. A. Skilton, M. N. Njahira, E. J. Chemoiwa, O. G. Dangasuk, B. Kaunda-Arara and E. Verheyen.  Genetic diversity and population structure of the African catfish, Clarias gariepinus (Burchell 1822) in Kenya: implication for conservation and aquaculture. Submitted to: Journal of Fish Biology.  


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