Strathmore School of Tourism and Hospitality

David Chiawo, a lecturer from CTH , attended a fellowship training in Cardiff, UK organized by Biodiversity Virtual e-laboratory (BioVel), a European Union consortium of 15 partners from 9 countries, United Kingdom, Germany,Netherlands, France, Italy, Sweden, Hungary and Finland. The main objective of the fellowship was to improve the capacity of research fellows at the stage of data analysis of their research to refine taxonomic data and perform species distribution modelling through BioVel virtualsoftware.


The fellowship was designed for scientists with background in areas of biodiversity research, e.g. ecology, environmental sciences, species distribution and population modelling, etc. The trainees were keen on taxonomic revisions, biodiversity inventories, ecological assessments, descriptive studies, conservation projects and analyses for management of natural protected areas among others. A total of 15 participants were selected and participated in the training.


The hands-on training engaged participants in data analysis using own field data to generate analysis outputs and introduced them to BioVeL e-infrastructure, Taxonomic data cleaning, Taxonomic name resolution and synonym expansion, Ecological niche modelling, model testing, statistical analysis of GIS data, invasive and endangered species distribution modelling and historical comparison of biodiversity from museum collections.


Training Outcomes included:

– Ability to perform research and analysis using BioVeL e-infrastructure (portal and workflows)
– Analysis output on taxonomic data discovery and integration, and species niche modelling
– Ability to initiate cross-disciplinary projects in biodiversity and conservation research


The training largely focused on species distribution modelling to develop patterns over large temporal and spatial scales for integration ofresearch findings in policy and conservation management.

In Mr. Chiawo’s words, ‘This training enhanced my capacity to perform distribution modelling of bird species along the coastal region of Kenya, an objective of my PhD work.’ BioVeL works with Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to promote analysis of large biodiversity data sets across many disciplines and researchers, and promotes publishing of field data, an additional publishing platform to promote data accessibility, data sharing and global networking among researchers.



David Chiawo is an assistant lecturer at Centre for Tourism and Hospitality, whose main teaching areas are Wildlife based tourism, Ecotourism, sustainable tourism and environmental management.

He is a conservation ecologist with research interests in biodiversity conservation, ecotourism and community based tourism. He is also a Rhodes Scholar, PhD (Science)-research on birds at the coastal ecosystems of Kenya. He is an IFS grantee- International for Science grantee and he enjoys nature safaris and cultural tourism.