PROFILE: Abebe Getahun
To help his government make decisions about conservation, Ethiopian biologist Abebe Getahun, lecturer at the Department of Biology, Addis Ababa University, is studying carp and other freshwater fish. “Introduction of exotic species, building dams, and channelizing watercourses are all problems that face the Ethiopian freshwater system,” he says.
As a young man, Getahun was impressed by the Swedish agricultural agents who came to help local farmers improve seed varieties and the husbandry of farm animals. As a result, he has studied in Ethiopia and abroad so that he can help to improve environments everywhere.
He earned his Ph.D. in biology under a joint program at the City University of New York and the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation before he returned to Ethiopia.
He plans to write about the fish fauna of Ethiopia and to help form nature clubs to educate local children so they in turn may show their families ways to protect their natural resources.
“Students should be aware of other countries’ affairs, not just the problems of their home countries. One country’s problems affect other countries. There is no independence, especially when we consider biodiversity loss.”
More About This Resource...
This online article, from The Biodiversity Crisis: Losing What Counts, profiles an Ethiopian biologist who studies the human impact on freshwater systems. It takes a quick look at:
- How Abebe Getahun's career was inspired by the Swedish scientists he saw as a youth who worked with Ethiopian farmers to improve seed varieties and animal husbandry.
- His work studying freshwater fish and the impact of humans on freshwater systems, as well as his work as an environmental educator.
Supplement a study of ecology or biodiversity with an activity drawn from this essay about a biologist who studies the impact of humans on freshwater systems.
- Ask students to list how humans can affect and unintentionally harm freshwater systems such as lakes and rivers.
- Send students to this online article, or print copies of the essay for them to read.
- Have them research and report on the nearest freshwater system and the specific risks it faces.