My research interest is in ecology of microorganisms in freshwaters. I graduated in Botany at University of Liège, Belgium, I began my research career with a PhD on the ecology of benthic diatoms in lowland rivers and their use as water pollution indicators.
I presented this PhD in 1975 and then worked on the same topic in the watershed of the R. Meuse. In the beginning of the 1980s, I became involved in research on potamoplankton, in the framework of impact assessment of nuclear plants on the R. Meuse. This is when I began collaborating with a team of modellers and discovered these techniques.
In 1986, I moved to University of Namur and began teaching biology and ecology of plants, while pursuing my research in potamoplankton. Later on I got involved in research on African lakes, with the supervision of a PhD in lake Muhazi, Rwanda, and with a first “discovery” of Lake Kivu in 1990. In 1996, I did a sabbatical at University of Wisconsin, Madison, where I learned everything on HPLC analysis of pigments. Back in Namur, I applied HPLC to phytoplankton and grazing studies, on lakes and rivers, using CHEMTAX.
The 2000s began with a research program on Lake Tanganyika and the coordination of the CLIMLAKE project, involving collaboration of the Belgian teams with African teams. At the same time, I went back to Lake Kivu and we started studying this lake. That’s where our interest for picoplankton and heterotrophic protists, and the microbial loop, developed, with several projects carried out with my graduate and PhD students.
Ongoing research is on ecology of great tropical lakes, as influenced by climate change and by species introductions, on cyanobacteria blooms and cyanotoxins in reservoirs and ponds, on microbial diversity and function, and on invasive clams in rivers, in collaboration with teams from Belgium and abroad.
My expertise in algal ecology and biological assessment of water quality is still useful for the determination of the ecological status of water bodies.
Since I was a young boy, I have been fishing, mainly in rivers, using different techniques, from the worm to the fly, but I have specialised in fly-fishing since the 1970s: I tie flies and cast nymphs and dry flies in running waters.