During my fish trips, I had the opportunity to meet some great names of the ichthyology and the aquariology world. These people left us too early, I humbly pay tribute to them. These articles were published in the journal Cybium of the French Society of Ichthyology, in french except for G. Teugels (both english and french published).
Luc DE VOS
Luc De Vos died. A wave of distress was propagated when the sun disappeared at the horizon and that the long African night began. During a short moment all became silence and a new star started to scintillate.
We all knew him and together shared moments of of brotherhood, but also fruitful scientific exchange.
Luc De Vos obtained his Ph.D. in Natural Sciences at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) in 1983 for his work on the systematic revision of the catfish family Schilbeidae from Africa. His work focuses on taxonomy, zoogeography and diversity, osteology, morphology, fauna and conservation of African fish.
From December 1983 to January 1987, Luc was ichthyology assistant researcher at the INRS (Institut National de Recherche Scientifique, Butare, Rwanda). From January 1987 to July 1991 he was a teacher at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Kisangani (UNIK) Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and curator at the Museum of Zoology at the same University.
Luke has collaborated with the Catholic University of Louvain, Systematics and Ecology Section and the Royal Museum for Central Africa (MRAC), Tervuren Vertebrates section, between August 1991 and April 1992.
Then, of May 1992 in February 1996, Luc worked like officer project and ichthyologist at the Research Regional center in Biology applied (CRRHA to Bujumbura in Burundi for the countries of the CEPGL (DRC, Burundi and Rwanda). On this occasion, he was more particularly interested in the ichthyologic fauna of the lake Tanganyika, the biodiversity of the aquatic environments and the ichthyologic fauna of the rivers and small lakes of the countries of the CEPGL.
He went back to the MRAC and the Ecology section and Aquaculture of the Institute of Zoology of the University of Louvain from February to June 1996. Then, as a conservative ichthyologist (central Africa and of the East) at the MRAC from August 1996 to March 1997.
Since 1997, Luc is the director of the Department of Ichthyology which he created at the National Natural History Museum of Kenya, Nairobi. That enabled him to constitute a reference collection of several ten thousands of specimens. Since its installation, he had undertaken to make a first inventory of fish of Kenya and had created a permanent exhibitions of fish from the Great Lakes of East Africa. He also described several new species (of Barbusin particular), found again Pardiglanis and taken care of the Coelacanth of Malindi (collection, conservation, exposure). His initiative and his devotion enabled him to train students and qualified personnel in ichthyology.
He had finally multiple projects like that to extend his action to the area Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and in the sea.
Since 1984, Luc acquired great experience of field and laboratory in the study of the ichtyofauna of several lakes and rivers of the African Eastern countries, the Republic of Central Africa (RCA), the DRC (ex-Zaire), Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and now, Kenya.
In short, a life of ichthyologist very filled to which he devoted all his energy in many countries of Africa, from Côte d’Ivoire to Kenya, while passing by Burundi, the area of Kisangani in DRC and especially Kigali. It was there its harbor and it impatiently waited to turn over in “his country” which he had to leave following the horrible and dramatic events which prevail unfortunately still in this region.
The fish of course, but especially Africa and the Africans, such were its reasons to express all at the same time its competences, its passion and its humanity. Admittedly he went back each year to Belgium, but its life, the true one, was in Africa while waiting for Kigali. This ultimate stage, it will not have finally finished it, it stopped in way. We know that it is only fate there, because we had still pints of good beer to divide together… This evening, the song of the tom-tom is lugubrious and Schilbe are orphan. Bye our friend…
Didier PAUGY & Jean-François AGNÈSE
Cybium 2004, 28(1): 3.
Our Belgium colleague, Guy Teugels, who died on July 22nd, 2003 in his 50th year, was known the world-over for his contribution to the knowledge of African freshwater fishes, and especially for his expertise in the Clariidae, his favoured group.
After obtaining his PhD at the Catholic University of Leuven (1983), he started his career in France at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN) in Paris where he successively occupied positions of Associated lecturer (1984-87) and Associated assistant director (1987-88) at the Laboratoire d’Ichtyologie générale et appliquée. Very much liked and well-integrated in this team, he returned, however, to Belgium at the end of 1988 when he was offered the position of Curator of the Fish collection at the Musée royal de l’Afrique centrale (MRAC) of Tervuren. Since 1999, he also occupied a position of Professor at the University of Leuven (Laboratoire d’Anatomie comparée et Biodiversité).
Guy Teugels was mainly a systematicist, but with characteristic efficiency, he combined his studies with Aministrator at the head of the Ichthyology Laboratory of the MRAC. His primary research topic was biodiversity studies of African fresh- and brackish-water fishes, using classical biometry, osteology and zoogeography. He was also interested in ecology and even managed to complete his studies with genetic and cytogenetic data by collaborating with suitably qualified colleagues. Guy Teugels realised more than fifty research visits or field trips to practically all the African states between 1978 and 2001. He was deeply attached to this continent and its peoples and felt particularly concerned by problems linked to the impact of human activities (deforestation, construction of dams, agro-industrial pollution) on African fish populations; participating in several international or African programmes on the conservation of the biodiversity of African fishes. Guy Teugels also involved himself in numerous development projects for optimisation of the potential of some fish species for aquaculture in experimental conditions, especially in Western Africa. The scientific productivity resulting from these different activities is very impressive: more than one hundred publications in numerous journals, about fifty chapters in a variety of books and contributing editor to seven books concerning the African fish fauna. However, sadly due to his untimely death, he could not achieve a long-standing ambition to publish The Lower Guinea Fish Fauna which he was keen to complete. His important personal investment to the formation of numerous young scientists from Europe and especially Africa is also to be applauded: in his list of publications, the number of African co-authors markedly increases as the years pass.
Guy Teugels was a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of several European and African journals of zoological sciences and a referee for many more. He was also a consultant, as a freshwater fish specialist, for important international organisations such as UNESCO, ICLARM, WHO, WWF, FAO, etc.
As member of the French Society of Ichthyology, Guy Teugels participated regularly at the Editorial Board meetings and was a frequent visitor to this laboratory. He, thus, never lost contact and friendship with his French colleagues and continued to maintain successful scientific exchanges with them throughout his career. Moreover, on May 6th and 7th, 1999, he welcomed to Tervuren the SFI annual scientific and administrative meeting, which was for the first time organised outside of France. Guy Teugels took this opportunity to organise, together with his Belgium colleagues, a wide overview of Belgium ichthyology. He was very proud to present us the new organisation of the very beautiful fish collection at the MRAC, which was achieved mainly as a result of his own personal determination and commitment to this collection.
Everyone who came close to Guy Teugels will remember the almost unbelievable rate of professional activity and productivity he was able to achieve. This highly valuable scientist also had great human qualities; always able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, he was a convivial friend who never lacked time for others. Our thoughts go to his family and friends, and his colleagues in Tervuren and Leuven.
Catherine OZOUF-COSTAZ & Robert TRAVERS
Cybium 2004, 28(1): 5-6.
Jean-Claude Nourissat was born on June 26th, 1941 and deceased on November 9th, 2003. Jean-Claude was married and had two girls. He had been doctor of surgery-dental at retirement for 2 years.
Jean-Claude had a carnal relationship with water. Salted or soft, clear or dirty, he had to dive there. This element attracted him like a magnet. That quite naturally, directed him towards the diving in apnea and the aquariophily. It was for him two devouring and dangerous passions.
He hunted the bar with mask and tuba with nearly 45 meters of depth, one or twice per week, in its dear Camargue.
His friend of diving, Jean-Paul, saved him already casting towards Neptune and Jean-Claude found himself at the hospital of Marseilles. That did not deteriorate this passion but decreased, a little, its ardor.
Jean-Claude very early began his passion for aquarist with sea water, then the killis. But a family of fish captivate him: the Cichlids. Thus, in 1980, he was one of the cofounders of Association Cichlid France and was its first President during one year. He took it again this presidency in 1988 to leave it until October 4th, 2003. It knew to give to this association an impulse which carried it at a national and international top (2000 members). Exemplary president and fisherman in the heart, he travelled throughout the world with friends to search his dear Cichlids. Thus, from north to the south, he dived in all the countries of Central America, in Peru, in Brazil to Colombia. But it is Madagascar which had its preference. Each year in October – November, he went there to fish, but also there to support Madagascans inhabitants by sending of whole containers, filled with essential items. Each year, Jean-Claude give us a new film which he made during his travel.
Its turbid water fishings were worth to him the affectionate nickname of “Dad-sludge”, but they especially enabled him to find many unknown or new for science species. Today, two species bear his name forever. These fishings involved many health hazards. He was affected seriously by a medullary bilharziose in 1998 and lived with a chronic paludism, still escaping a fatal outcome. But his determination, his perseverance and his obstinate were right of wisdom, Jean-Claude set out again towards turbid water in the search of Cichlids. This year still in Guatemala, he escaped from bullets with friends. This time still it was not his hour. His last travel was fatal for him, and the element which he liked so much, water, sheltered also his worst enemies.
To keep its dear Cichlids, he built a private greenhouse, can be largest in France, with gigantic aquariums. He acquired an irreplaceable experiment in aquariophily from which he made profit all his friends and aquarists.
Jean-Claude was still cofounder and publication director of a aquarist newspaper, and publication director of his dear French Revue of the cichlidophiles. He wrote many articles, in particular on the biotopes of Cichlids and published with Patrick de Rham a major work on Cichlids of Madagascar.
Jean-Claude had many projects and travels in prospect. He took retreat while resigning of the presidency of the AFC and was named Honorary president on October 4th of this year.
He was an exceptional man, and in its too short life, he achieved exceptional and unforgettable things. His strength of character, his will and his modesty made that he was appreciated and liked of all. He will be regretted by all his friends and knowledge throughout the world.
Robert ALLGAYER & all members of the Association France Cichlid
Cybium 2004, 28(1): 4.