The first African FREshwater entomology workSHop (AFRESH) was held in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, from 1 - 7 Februrary 2016. The main aims were to provide delegates with identification skills for Odonata, Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera and to identify priority areas in African freshwater.  

AFRESH1 was organised by a team lead by Helen Barber-James (Albany Museum, Grahamstown) and KD Dijkstra (Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Leiden) with support from Mark Graham and his team (GroundTruth Consultants, Hilton).


Training was carried out by internationally recognised experts in the taxonomy of the three freshwater insects groups being covered. This includes KD Dijkstra, Mike Samways and Viola Clausnitzer (Odonata); Helen Barber-James, Lyndall Pereira da Conceicoa and Ben Price (Ephemeroptera), and Ferdy de Moor and Terence Bellingan (Trichoptera). We were also assisted by Musa Mlambo, Chantal Taylor, Alexandra Holland and GroundTruth staff (with thanks to Mark Graham).

Course Outcomes

  • Identification of African Odonata, Ephemeroptera and Trichoptera
  • Recognition of diagnostic characteristics of genera and some species
  • Use of identification guides
  • Understand habitat types for different species
  • Monitoring objectives and methods (especially for Odonata – demonstration of a new easy-to-use tool for assessment of freshwater ecosystem health, built on a comprehensive review of dragonfly taxonomy and ecology applicable Africa-wide)
  • Field collecting and specimen preservation techniques
  • Demonstration of digital keys and app development

Priorities for freshwater biodiversity research and conservation in Africa identified and discussed at AFRESH1 can be found in the Midmar Memoradum 

Sponsors and Collaborators

JRS Biodiversity Foundation, National Research Foundation (NRF), Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, Senckenberg world of biodiversity, Stellenbosch University, Water Research Commission, Albany Museum Freshwater Invertebrates, Rhodes University, GroundTruth

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith