Céline Hanzen

Céline Hanzen

Céline Hanzen

Phd Student



Slippery customers for conservation : Understanding the life history, spatial ecology and feeding habits of Anguilla spp. in East African rivers.


Worldwide, Anguillid eels are facing growing threats especially because of overexploitation, pollution and habitat loss. Temperate eel populations have declined dramatically to the point of endangerment in the last few decades. In southern Africa, eels face increasing threats from exploitation demands and the development of water resource management schemes along the east flowing rivers of South Africa in particular.

In southern Africa, Anguillid eels are socio-ecologically important species that are poorly understood, poorly protected and potentially highly threatened and/or exploited . Ten species occur in the tropics and subtropics, including four species in East Africa that are found sympatrically in KwaZulu-Natal. There is a huge debate regarding whether sub-populations of theses species exist and whether these possible sub-populations have single or multiple spawning grounds, as these areas have only been established with certainty for a few species. Where they occur, anguillid eels play an important ecological role in freshwater and brackish habitats and generate numerous ecosystem services.

Despite their social-economical and ecological importance, the level of understanding regarding their occurrence, abundance, diversity and ecology still remains poor. Without this knowledge we are unable to adequately conserve these flagship species and the services they generate, and manage the rivers they occur in. On the other hand, a better knowledge of their dynamics and diversity could open up economic opportunities. This project then aims to address the gap in our understanding of these species by generating information regarding their distribution, population diversity and wellbeing as well as promoting biodiversity and river conservation for the benefit of all users.

In addition, I’m also involved in various project, including the South African Swimway Program.

Find me on ResearchGate or Linkedin.


Ovidio M., Hanzen C., Gennotte V., Michaux J., Benitez J. P., & Dierckx, A., 2016. Is adult translocation a credible way to accelerate the recolonization process of Chondrostoma nasus in a rehabilitated river? Cybium, 40(1), 43-49. (link)

Collier B., Maciver D., Hanzen C., 2014. Survey of Western Isles Cockle Grounds (2014). Report realized by the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust, 23 pages. (Link)

Benitez J.P., Dierckx A., Brédart D., Grandry L., Hanzen C., Ovidio M., 2013. Caractérisations des comportements de dévalaison et de montaison de poissons migrateurs en vue d’une optimisation et d’une conception des dispositifs de franchissement sur deux sites hydroélectriques de l’Amblève. [Characterizations of behavior of downstream and upstream migrations of migratory fishes to optimize and design fish passes over two hydroelectric sites on the Amblève river]. Rapport final du projet financé par le Fonds européen pour la Pêche (Code projet: 32-1002-004) et la Direction des Cours d’eau Non Navigables, Service Public de Wallonie. Laboratoire de Démographie des Poissons et d’Hydroécologie de l’Université de Liège, 214 pages. (Link)

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