School of Science and Computing

Dr Geraldine Dorcas Kavembe

Lecturer, Department of Life Sciences.
Specialization area: Animal Science, Genetics and Evolutionary Biology.
Research Interests: Aquaculture Genetics and Genomics, Genetics of adaptation, Biological adaptations to climate change, Conservation biology and gender dimensions in biodiversity management.

On-going Research:

  • Genomic approaches for understanding adaptations to multiple abiotic stresses
  • Host-parasite co-evolution in environmentally challenging environments
  • Investigating the role of Gender perspectives on Biodiversity Conservation
  • Investigating the role of indigenous knowledge in COVID-19 management.

Publications in peer-reviewed journals

  1. Maina J. N., Kavembe, G.D., Papah, M.B., Mashiteng R., Wood, C.M., Bianchini A., Bianchini L.F., Bergman, H.L., Johannson, O.E., Laurent P., Chevalie C., Kisipan M. L. Brix K.V., De Boeck, G., and R. O. Ojoo (2019). Sizes, condition factors and sex ratios of the scattered populations of the small cichlid fish, Alcolapiagrahami, that inhabits the lagoons and sites of Lake Magadi. Environmental Biology of Fishes 102 (10): 1265-1280.
  2. Bianchini L.F., Wood, C.M., Bergman, H.L., Johannson, O.E., Laurent P., Chevalie C., Kisipan M. L. Kavembe, G.D., Papah, M.B., Brix K.V., De Boeck, G., Maina J. N., Ojoo R. O. and A. Bianchini, A. (2017). Metabolism and antioxidant defense in the larval chironomidTanytarsusminutipalpus: Adjustments to diel variations in the extreme conditions of Lake Magadi. Biology Open 15;6(1):83-91. doi: 10.1242/bio.021139.
  3. Wood, C.M., Brix K.V., De Boeck, G., Bianchini, A., Bianchini L.F., Maina, J.N., Johannson, O.E., Kavembe, G.D., Papah, M.B., Letura K. and R.O. Ojoo. (2016). Mammalian metabolic rates in the hottest fish on earth. Scientific Reports 6:26990. DOI: 10.1038/srep26990
  4. Kavembe, G. D, Meyer A and C. Wood (2016). Fish populations in East African saline lakes: status, uses, conservation, management and current research with a particular focus on the Lake Magadi tilapia. Springer Verlag Publishers. ISBN978-3-319-28622-8
  5. Kavembe, G. D. Franchini, P., Irisarri, I., Machado-Schiaffino, G. and A. Meyer (2015). Genomics of adaptation to multiple concurrent stresses: insights from comparative transcriptomics of a cichlid fish from one of Earth’s most extreme environments, the hypersaline Soda Lake Magadi in Kenya, East Africa. Journal of Molecular Ecology 81 (3-4):90-109. Doi: 10.1007/s00239-015-9696-6.
  6. Kavembe, G. D., Kautt, A.F., Machado-Schiaffino, G. & A. Meyer (2015). Eco-morphological differentiation in Lake Magadi tilapia, an extremophile cichlid fish living in hot, alkaline and hypersaline lakes in East Africa. Molecular Ecology doi:10.1111/mec.13461
  7. Kavembe, G. D, Machado-Schiaffino, G. & A. Meyer (2014). Pronounced genetic differentiation of small isolated and fragmented tilapia populations inhabiting the Magadi Soda Lake in Kenya. Hydrobiologia739,55-71.
  8. Papah, M. B., Onyango, D. W., Kisia, S. M., Ojoo, R. O., Makanya, A. N., C. M. Wood, Kavembe, G. D., Maina, J., Johannsson, O. E., Bergman, H. L., Laurent, P., Chevalier, C., BianchiniA.and L. F. Bianchini (2013). Morphological Evaluation of Spermatogenesis in Lake Magadi Tilapia (Alcolapiagrahami): A Fish Living on the Edge. Tissue and Cell 45(6):371-82.
  9. Johannsson, O.E., Bergman, H.L., Wood, C.M., Laurent, P., Kavembe, G.D., Bianchini, A., Maina, J.N., Chevalier, C., Bianchini, L.F., Papah, M.B. and R.O. Ojoo (2013) Air breathing in the Lake Magadi tilapia Alcolapiagrahami, under normoxic and hyperoxic conditions, and the association with sunlight and ROS. Journal of Fish Biology 84:844-863.
  10. Wood, C.M., Nawata, C.M., Wilson, J.M., Laurent, P., Chevalier, C., Bergman, H.L., Bianchini, A., Maina, J.N., Johannson, O.E., Bianchini, L.F., Kavembe, G.D., Papah, M.B. and R.O. Ojoo. (2013) Rh proteins and NH4+-activated Na+ ATPase in the Magadi Tilapia (Alcolapiagrahami), a 100% ureotelic teleost fish. Journal of Experimental Biology 216:2998-30
  11. Wood, C.M., Bergman H.L., Bianchini A., Laurent P., Maina J., Johannsson O.E., Bianchini L.F., Chevalier C., Kavembe G.D., Papah M.B., and Ojoo R.O. (2012) Transepithelial Potential in the Magadi Tilapia, a Fish Living in Extreme Alkalinity. Journal of Comparative Physiology B (2012) 182:247-258.
  12. Faria,P.J.Kavembe,G.D.Junga,J.O.Kimwele,C.N.,Estes,L.D.,Reillo,P.R.,Mwangi, A. G. and M. W Bruford (2011). The use of non-invasive molecular techniques to confirm the presence of mountain bongo Tragelaphuseurycerusisaacipopulations in Kenya and preliminary inference of their mitochondrial genetic variation. Conservation Genetics 12: 745 – 751.


  • Languages: Fluent in English, Kiswahili and basic understanding of the German language
  • Computer skills:Competent in Microsoft office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
  • Technological Knowledge:Genome-based data analysis software
  • Additional competencies: Excellent leadership skills, negotiations skills, advocacy, training, mentoring and ability to work in a team

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