[Taxacom] ENQUIRY FOR COLLABORATION & MENTORSHIP

MICHAEL UWAGBAE mikeuwagbae at gmail.com
Wed Nov 28 01:45:22 CST 2007


Dear All,
Sequel to my review of this outstanding entomological listserve  and its
great contributions to informing entomologists world wide and a keen
interest in finding a mentor and pursue a career in Insect conservation, I
am sending this mail out. Kindly excuse its lengthy nature. Just jointed as
member of this wonderful listserve.

Am currently the Project Manager – Admin- for the BrassLNG (Liquefied
Natural Gas) Biodiversity Study in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.  The activities
of the Biodiversity Study includes:

· *Preliminary Desk-top Assessment *: Identify, determine sensitive
habitats, protected areas, species or ecosystems of high conservation value
that exist within, overlap, or beyond project boundary to know status,
environment and management.

· *Baseline Survey/Early Biodiversity work: *Identify or confirm species,
habitats and ecosystems, statutory designations with their related
functions, services and key ecological processes/sensitivities. Identify
existing impacts on biodiversity from socio-economic pressures and assess
project impacts.

· *Biodiversity Action Plan: *Establish priorities for conservation and
identify conservation actions for onshore, inshore and coastal environment.



In recent times, the preservation of the Niger-Delta (Nigeria) and its
biodiversity has become a national and international issue of discourse. To
drive the Niger-Delta and its biodiversity to ruin is to correspondingly
place its inhabitants in a nasty, restless and distressful condition.
Contrary to sustainable development of the worlds people a prominent Agenda
of the Rio (1992) and Johannesburg (2002) summits respectively. It is
absolutely imperative that the preservation and protection of the
Niger-Delta from predatory and unregulated disturbances is our collective
heritage. Especially human-induced and/or human-accelerated disturbances
with resultant deleterious impact on the environment that changes the
composition and functioning of the ecosystem beyond some baseline or
background level of natural disturbance. The Niger Delta is the economic
mainstay of Nigeria. It bears the bulk of the country's oil and gas reserve.
It is the largest Delta region in Africa, covering an estimated area of
about 70,000 sq km. The region has one of the highest biodiversity
characteristic of extensive swamp and forest areas in Africa, with many
unique species of plants and animals. It also contains 60-80 percent of all
Nigerian plant and animal species. The Niger Delta alone has 134 fresh water
and brackish water fish species as compared with 192 for the entire
continent of Europe. More than four decades of oil exploration and
production activities have left a severely degraded environment in Nigeria's
Niger Delta oil region. The amount and severity of soil pollution, in terms
of economic losses and degradation of resources and ecosystems, highlights
the need and the urgency to develop a capacity to access both the degree of
functional degradation of the soil and the rate at which it is occurring,
and to develop a holistic 'biological systems management' approach to soil
health and agricultural production. The Niger-Delta rainforest often provide
the only home for thousands of unknown or yet unrecorded species of animals
(insects and arthropods) and plants. The destruction of these rainforests is
eliminating many of these irreplaceable species at an alarming rate. There
is much to explore in this vast untapped region of Nigeria whose terrestrial
and aquatic resources are being threatened by the devastating consequences
of the crude oil exploration and spillage with irreversible consequences on
both the biodiversity and human safety.
       With these in mind, it gives me great pleasure in writing you and
enquiring about collaboration and assistance. Am MICHAEL UWAGBAE, a
Ph.Dstudent of Environmental Entomology of the Ambrose Alli
University, Ekpoma,
Edo State, Nigeria and also a World Bank Institute, Washington, USA, Alumni.
Currently am working on a pilot research titled "INVENTORY AND
CHARACTERIZATION OF SOIL ARTHROPODS AS INDICATOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION
IN PART OF NIGER-DELTA REGION OF NIGERIA"
The main goal of the research is to support the Millennium Development Goals
(MDG) seven, which is ensuring environmental sustainability by assessing
prevailing ecological conditions and determining the inventory and
characterization of soil arthropods as indicator of environmental pollution
and degradation aimed at reversing the loss of environmental resources in
the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria. While the specific objectives of the
study include:
1. To determine the background soil arthropod baseline population and
inventory in uncontaminated and crude oil polluted soils;
2.  To carry out time dependent verification and monitoring of the soil
arthropod presence and/or absence at uncontaminated (unpolluted) and
contaminated (crude oil) sites in the region;
3.  To determine soil physical characteristics and chemical concentrations
of uncontaminated (unpolluted) and contaminated (crude oil) sites in the
Niger Delta  region of  Nigeria.

The Project relevance is undertaken to build a foundational comprehensive
database of soil arthropods present in the region, as there is paucity of
informationon soil arthropods in Nigeria and especially the Niger-Delta.
Since insects and other terrestrial arthropods are important because
together they comprise at least 75 percent of the one million species of
animals in the world now known to science. The dominance of insects among
the world's animals is a fundamental scientific insight, yet one not widely
appreciated. Therefore, my intention is to build a comprehensive database
which will be regularly updated and will also improve awareness of the soil
biodiversity in the Niger Delta region
and better the visibility for assessing the level of destruction of the soil
ecosystem from crude oil pollution in the region's ecosystem.
Also the research project is to make sustainable efforts towards obtaining
an arthropod survey, which will involve the collecting and recording of
ecological groups, in a series of stations (locations) throughout Niger
Delta which will be of immense benefits to the academic world, oil
companies, NGO's with environmental bias, oil producing host communities and
other stakeholders by giving a clear picture of the level of soil biota that
are destroyed from anthropogenic activities in the region.
       In addition, the relevance of this research project has already won
the university grant of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria in the
sum of $1,100 (One thousand, one hundred dollars.

The focal area of the research for now is Bayelsa State. Upon completion of
the research, it will be replicated and scaled-up in other axes of the
region (middle and eastern Niger-Delta). The target groups of this research
are the surface and below-surface arthropod biodiversity groups made up of
Coleopterans (beetles), Hymenopterans (Ants), Arachnidans (Spiders),
Hemipterans (bugs),Acarina (Mites & Ticks) and Collembola (Springtails).
       Strategies for the project includes selection of 2 oil producing
communities each in the focal states that have experienced crude oil
pollution within the following periods:
(i) 0 – 1 year (ii) 1 – 3 years (iii) 3 – 5 years (iv) 5 years and above.
This will be possible through the help of two NGOs (1) Niger-Delta Wetlalnds
Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State (2) Environmental Rights Action (ERA) a
renowned Nigerian advocacy non-governmental organization based in Yenagoa,
Bayelsa State and Benin City, Edo State. who are renowned and involved in
environmental issues.
       The collection and analysis of data for the research will span a
period of Thirty-six (36) months (3 years), but sampling will be done for
twenty-four (24) months (2 years) involving full cycle of the rain and dry
seasons.
       The outcome of the research project will include: (i) a novel
database listing and characterization of soil arthropods of the Niger Delta
and development of ecological indicators, which will help to evidentially
reveal the extent of destruction of soil biota from crude oil pollution in
the west of the Niger-Delta; (2) identification of arthropod groups that
characterize the diversity associated with key habitats; (3) determination
of soil arthropod species richness, diversity, proportion, or dominance in
West of the Niger Delta will be achieved; (4) determination of the relative
abundance of a major species; (iv) determination of "RED LIST Group" which
refers to arthropod group designation as Endangered or Threatened; (5)
determination of "BLUE LIST Group" which refers to arthropod group that are
sensitive or vulnerable; indigenous (native) species that are not
immediately threatened but are particularly at risk for reasons including
low or declining numbers and restricted distribution.
       On policy implications, the outcome of this research will also assist
host communities in co-operating with environmental NGOs, in preparing draft
legislations against soil pollution emanating from crude oil spills, which
could be presented to the State and/or Federal Legislature.
       I would love to enquire if you will be willing to collaborate and
support this research with materials (books, journals, expertise e.t.c) and
help mentor it. There is paucity of information (books, etc) on soil
arthropods in Nigeria and mostly in the Niger-Delta Area of Nigeria.
The project covers Arthropod Biodiversity, Ecology and Environmental
pollution/degradation.

Please for further clarification on the project or other issues do not
hesitate in contacting me.

Thanks.

Yours truly,
-- 
MICHAEL UWAGBAE
Project Manager - Administration-BrassLNG Biodiversity Study
Niger Delta Wetlands Centre
*www.nigerdeltawetlands.org
*Wetlands Lane, Ekeki, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
Nigeria
Tel: (+234)802 917 8444
E-mail: mikeuwagbae at gmail.com



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