ADVANCED TRAINING COURSE on “Water quality management”

Given by

        Name:    PhD. Wout Van Echelpoel    

PhD. Long Ho                     

Institution      :     Ghent University (UGent), Belgium

Starting date  :      26-03-2018

Final date       :     28-03-2018

Location         :     An Giang University (AGU)

1. Objective of the activity

This course aims at providing to Cambodian teachers an overview of the major components and characteristics of water ecosystems, as well as the core interactions. The covered interactions are related to energy and nutrient flows (and accumulation), movements and migration of organisms, and finally competition, predation and parasitism. In the biological monitoring part, an overview is given of assessment methods and surveillance systems for lotic and lentic surface waters. In addition, they also have one day for working on the field to take samples and in the lab to analyze them.

2. Program of the course

Short description
This course includes four components: introduction to water ecosystems, water quality management, field practise, laboratory work.
Main aims
The first introductory course aims at providing the basic understanding of aquatic ecology and water management. More specifically, quality management, monitoring and assessment of invertebrates and fish communities are described.

Freshwater ecology course aims at providing the students with the basic knowledge of the structure and the functioning of freshwater ecosystems. The abiotic (physical and chemical) characteristics of lakes and rivers, as well as the qualitative and quantitative composition of the different biological communities are reviewed. Major attention is paid to the materials budget of the inland waters and on the interactions between the living and non-living components.

Water quality management course aims at acquiring in-depth knowledge of biological methods which can be used to monitor the effects of pollution, eutrophication and manipulation of (mainly aquatic) environments. An overview is given of assessment methods and surveillance systems for lotic and lentic surface waters. The dynamics of the various bioconversions is schematized. Students can absorb easily all of the theory via the practical class on the field and the laboratory.


Learning methods

  • Lecture
  • Independent work
  • Practical work

3. Report of the trainer

Generally speaking, the quality of the course and attendees were more than expected. There were 11 attendees coming from all four university (see annex 1). Most of them have sufficient basic required knowledge and English skills to apprehend the knowledge from the course.

Considering that the knowledge of this course will be applied on a Master programme in Conservation of the Biodiversity, the content of this course, which is a combination from several courses given in Ghent University, was adapted. More specifically, as most of the participants have basic knowledge of freshwater ecology, the trainer shortened the content of freshwater ecology part. The learner also demonstrated their apprehension via a case study for quality management of social issues in the end of the second class. After 30 minutes of implementing this case study, four groups presented their results which then were discussed with each other. However, there were some difficulties to deliver some concepts, such as energy balances, DPSIR framework, or the interactions between different components. To deal with these difficulties, self-study was encourage. All presentations, together with course notes, were distributed via Dropbox. Hard copy of all presentations were prepared in advance. Many small exercises during the course were given to those who want to practice their understanding and obtain the certificate of knowledge and skill requirement.

4. Summary of attendees’ surveys

With this course I have acquired advanced knowledge about the topic 8 4
Has clearly presented the course syllabus 8 4.5
Has covered the course syllabus without any important problems 8 4
Explains the course contents in a clear, structured and ordered way 8 4.5
The support materials provided are helpful 8 4.5
Creates a participatory atmosphere for students in the classroom 8 3.875
Has motivated me and has sparked my generated interest in the course 8 4.25
Is accessible and provides out-of-class support 8 4
Has met the expectations I had about the course 8 4.25
Before following this course, did you have already studied this topic? If yes, since how many years? 8
Do you think that lecture will be useful for your research activities? 8
Do you think that lecture will be useful for your teaching activities? 8
Are you interested in learning more about water quality and modelling? If yes, indicate the topics that you are interested in. 8
Evaluate the teaching 8 4.25
Evaluate the course syllabus 8 4.25

The detail of these survey can be found in Annex 2.

5. Discussion about the implementation of the ATC in the framework of the MSA

Water is at the core of sustainable development and critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. It is vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, welfare and productivity of populations. It is central to the production and preservation of a host of benefits and services for people. Therefore, it is important in this Master Programme of Conservation of the Biodiversity that its students can aware of the crucial role of water management in biodiversity conservation. Hence, this water quality management course can be taken as an elective course in the MSA. The detail of this course can be found in Annex 3.

6. Gallery of pictures

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