Highlights & Awards


Recent highlights in our research

November 2022

  • Science Day 2022: participation AECO to the Science Festival Ghent (November 27th, 2022) 
During the Science Festival in Ghent on 27 November 2022, AECO will give children the opportunity to take their first steps as water journalists in the underwater world of macro-invertebrates and to research and learn more about freshwater ecology. 

October 2022

  • Over eten: Prof. Peter Goethals shared his research and expertise on fish from polluted sea and rivers in in the vrt program 'Over eten,' to be seen via VRT max. (only available in Dutch)

Cod and salmon are by far the most popular fish on our plates. But like 90% of the fish we eat, they are imported. In doing so, we grossly overlook surprisingly delicious fish from our North Sea. In 'Over eten' they find out what fish we catch from the North Sea, how healthy fish is from a polluted sea and river, and how we can get more fish from our own sea in the future.. 

March 2021

Surrounded by intense anthropogenic activities, urban rivers have become one of the major greenhouse gas sources. Our research recently revealed how water pollution can amplify the emissions of rivers. These outcomes were highlighted in a recently published article in BBC Future Planet. The cited research is a part of a thorough investigation in the Cuenca river basin in Ecuador, that was published in Biogeosciences and Water Research. The latter demonstrated that natural wastewater treatment plants are also releasing high amount of CO2 and CH4 as a result of regular influx of pollutants. These studies were supported by VLIR-UOS via the Biodiversity Network Ecuador, which aims to find innovative solutions for improving water management.

Research in the context of high mountain lakes of the VLIR-UOS projects in Ecuador and cooperation with HOGent and UTN, is presented on the cover of the journal Biotropica.

Recently defended PhDs


  • The Pentatope Model: A systematic approach to water governance. (Rudy Vannevel - 06.10.2023)
  • A functional and numerical ecology approach to assess the water quality of the rivers in the Paute basin (Ecuador). (Gonzalo Patricio Sotomayor Valarezo - 25.08.2023)
  • Linkages between mangroves and fisheries in the Galapagos: ecological, social and mangement perspectives. (José F. Pontón Cevallos - 05.05.2023)
  • Integrated assessment of environmental quality and consumers' health risks and benefits of red mangrove crabs from the Guayas estuary, Ecuador. (Andrée De Cock - 08.03.2023)


  • Habitat suitability models for control of the invasive fern species Azolla filiculoides in the Anzali wetland (Iran) (Roghayeh Sadeghi - 08.06.2022)


  • Modeling for decision support in integrated water management using an ecosystem approach (Elina Bennetsen - 22.12.2021)
  • Field and mesocosm research to support ecological control of aquatic vector-borne diseases in Ethiopia. (Beekam Kebeda Olkeba - 29.10.2021)
  • Integrated ecological assessment and modelling of chytridiomycosis in support of sustainable farmland pond management. (Niels De Troyer - 20.09.2021)
  • Ecosystem services and agriculture: case studies in the Guayas River Basin. (Gonzalo Gabriel Villa Cox - 31.08.2021)
  • Agricultural contaminants in freshwater ecosystems and disposition of fungicides in amphibians. (Tess Goessens - 02.07.2021)


  • Ecological Assessment of Rivers and Streams in the Rwenzori Region, Uganda. (Peace Sasha Liz Musonge - 17.12.2020)
  • Integrating Innovative Fish Monitoring and Data Analysis to Support Management of Aquatic Ecosystems. (Stijn Bruneel - 28.09.2020)
  • Capture Fisheries and Aquaculture in Relation to Environmental Sustainability and Food Supplies in Thailand. (Tiptiwa Sampantamit - 22.06.2020)
  • Age Determination and Population Modelling of Labeobarbus Species to Support Fisheries Management in Lake Tana, Ethiopia. (Shewit Gebremdhin Kidane - 19.05.2020)
  • Data-Driven Models and Trait-Oriented Experiments of Aquatic Macrophytes to Support Freshwater Management. (Wout Van Echelpoel - 15.05.2020)