School of Tourism and Natural Resource Management



Specialization: Ecologist

Mobile Number: +254 754455581, E-Mail Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research interests 

As an ecologist I am 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 policies and practices for 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

  1. 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 (2017)   Genetic diversity and population structure of the African catfish, Clarias gariepinus (Burchell 1822) in Kenya: implication for conservation and aquaculture. Belgian Journal of Zoology 147 (2): 105 – 127.,  
  2.  Chemoiwa E.J.; Abila, R, Njenga, E.W. and Barasa, J ( 2017) Morphological Characterization and Relationship between Morphometric Parameters and Standard Length in Barbus altianalis (Boulenger, 1904) Populations in Lake Victoria Drainage Basin, Kenya.  Annual Research & Review in Biology, 14(5): 1-11, 2017; Article no.ARRB.31984. ISSN: 2347-565X, NLM ID: 101632869
  3. Abila, R. al. (2016). Oil extraction imperils Africa’s Great Lakes. Science, 354 (6312), 561-562.
  4. E. Barasa, R. Abila, J. P. Grobler, M. Agaba, E. J. Chemoiwa and B. Kaunda-Arara (2016) High genetic diversity, population structure and evolutionary change in Clariid catfishes of Yala swamp: Evidence from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Journal of Fish Biology, 89(3): 2557 - 2570. doi:10.1111/jfb.13150,,  
  5. 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)
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.,
  9. 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. Env. Sci. Wat. Res 1 (2) 27 – 33.,
  10. 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.,
  11. 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.,
  12. 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, ).
  13. 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. Cited by Wikipedia
  14. 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 –
  15. 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:

Consultancies and International Conference Proceedings

  1. Romulus Abila (May, 2015) Profile of biological and physical resources of the Chyulu Hills. A consultancy report to Africa Waste and Environment Management Centre, Nairobi for the consultancy Kenya Water Towers Agency: development of Community Development Action Plans for Chyulu water towers.
  2. Romulus Abila (July, 2014) Development of the environmental monitoring programmes in relation to solid waste to protect the environment. A consultancy report to Africa Waste and Environment Management Centre, Nairobi for the consultancy Provision of Consultancy Services for Review of Kisumu Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (KISWAMP) For Kisumu City.
  3. Romulus Abila et al., (2014)  Kenya- Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Aquaculture Sector Labour Market Needs Assessment. Reported of Labour Markets Needs Assessment conducted in collaboration with Q –Point, Netherlands, March 2014.
  4. Romulus Abila (2012)  Biodiversity and the Role of ‘Dryland Wetlands’ in Semi Arid Mikuyuni – Mwitasyano River Catchment in South Eastern Kenya as a Source of Livelihood. Report submitted to Rufford Small Grant. April, 2012. Available at:
  5. DAAD alumni expert seminar "Integrated Watershed Management for Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Conflict Resolution " Mbale, Uganda, 04th April 2011 to 14th April 2011. Report available at
  6. Romulus Abila, Angienda P.O. and Musyoka C.M. (2011) Harnessing the environmental services and promoting community based conservation in the Lake Kanyaboli reserve for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Proceedings of the Bondo University College and Cape Peninsula University of Technology Joint Workshop on Food Security.
  7. Romulus Abila (2008) Are satellite lakes of Lake Victoria refuges for ‘lost’ tilapia genetic resources?. A Small Ecological Project Grant Report to British Ecological Society. Grant No. 945/1175.,
  8. Romulus Abila (1998) An evaluation of community utilization, conservation and perception of a Kenyan wetland: A case study of the Yala swamp. Report Submitted to the BP Conservation Programme, UK.


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