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The Comoé National Park Research Station

The Comoé National Park Research Station is located in the Comoé National Park (Ivory Coast), a west sudanian savannah. Savannahs are highly diverse ecosystems that have received too little public attention, even though they are under extreme pressure to be used and are just as endangered as rainforests.

The station offers unique training and research opportunities for local and international students and scientists in West Africa and far beyond. It consists of 14 well-equipped residential houses, an air-conditioned laboratory building (800 m2) and other functional buildings with self-sufficient electricity and water supply (solar system and 80m deep well) and internet connection.

History and importance for science and education

In 1990, a research camp was initially founded by Prof. Linsenmair (funding: Volkswagen Foundation). In 2000, construction of the present station began (funding: Fritz Thyssen Foundation; University of Würzburg). It was looted several times during the ensuing civil war and destroyed except for the foundation walls, but was rebuilt by Prof. Linsenmair between 2012 and 2014 when the country was pacified (residual funding from the Thyssen Foundation, support from the university). Unfortunately, the station's continued existence is threatened by a lack of funding. So far, over 200 local and international researchers have worked at the station (resulting in over 250 publications). Also, more than 80 exam and doctoral theses have been completed.

Research and conservation in Comoé Park (from plants to ants and termites to migratory birds and large mammals)

The park with its high heterogeneity of biotic communities and a strong contrast of dry and rainy seasons allows studies on a wide range of organisms. The station is also of high importance for nature conservation. The detection of chimpanzees and elephants, thought to be extinct in the park, through research at the station has, for example, contributed significantly to the (re-)acquisition of UNESCO World Heritage status. The aim of our research is not only to provide a scientific basis for understanding and conserving the habitat, but also for sustainable use of the savannah systems in the face of increasing population pressure and climate change.

Contact & Links

Prof. Dr. K. Eduard Linsenmair was Chair of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology 1976-2008 and has been Senior Professor and Director of the Comoé Research Station since 2008. He has initiated research programmes in various research fields, established tropical research in Germany and coordinated interdisciplinary research networks in Africa (in cooperation with local institutions). He established the Comoé Station and his services were recognised by the Ivorian Ministry of Science with the award of a medal.

Dr. Erik T. Frank conducted research on the termite-hunting ant species Megaponera analis as part of his doctoral thesis from 2014-2018, discovering and describing this behaviour. He is Managing Director of the Comoé Research Station.

Comoé Research Station