||Twenty-Year Development of Zoological and Botanical Research Topics in The University of Antananarivo: Implication for Future Challenges of Biodiversity Conservation
RAKOTOMANANA, HajanirinaRAMAROSANDRATANA, Aro Vonjy
African study monographs. Supplementary issue.
71 , 2018-03 , The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
The Department of Zoology and Animal Biodiversity (DZAB) and the Department of Plant Ecology and Biology (DPEB), Faculty of Science, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar), have played a major role in the education of the national natural scientists since 1990. To assess their roles in fauna and flora conservation, the number of the graduated students per year, the number of research done by the two departments in Madagascar, the development of research topics, the type of ecosystem, and the type of jobs after the academic education were explored from 1995 to 2015. As results, those departments, through different partnerships and collaborations with overseas institutions (that include universities, associations and NGOs) have collected large quantity of biological data corresponding to 570 doctoral dissertations and master theses (276 from the field of zoology and 294 from the field of botany). 11 students defended theses on genetics, seven on Plant-Animal interactions and only one on Animal physiology, probably due to high cost of modern biological technologies or a bias in funding priorities. 95% of the studies were funded by international or national private agencies. The number of research undertaken by our students in both fields of zoology and botany has increased during the last decade. About 60% of the studies have been carried out in dense forest area in which research topics are less diversified than in other areas like coastal forest area, wetland, town/city, etc. Only 7% were carried out in marine, mangrove and coastal forest areas. Concerning the employment status of our graduates after the graduation, 125 among 210 graduates answered to the questionnaires and 64% of them are working with government or private agencies serving as consultants or permanent jobs on conservation. Thus, the two departments have played crucial roles in training a meritable generation of national natural scientists which are able to provide scientific expertise to support sustainable conservation. These departments can also be identified as a good networking system through fostering collaboration with the foreign institutions, and can be considered as data collectors. The biological data obtained by our students could be used and analyzed by stakeholders for biodiversity planning and monitoring process. The results from this study are expected to help the policy-makers and the users of information determine and set the conservation priorities in the future. To conclude, this study examines the different roles played by DZAB and DPEB in conserving Madagascar biodiversity, and presents their future challenges for improving the quality of education and research at the departments.