Development of a Bio-Indicator Sample Repository for Namibia

Measuring environmental change requires suitable samples, such as materials collected from biological indicators (bio-indicators). These are organic materials or organisms that are sensitive to, and suitably reflect, changes in environmental conditions. When collected regularly, bio-indicators enable empirical measurement of changes, driven both by natural variation and humans.

The Ongava Research Centre (ORC) has established a long-term bio-indicator sampling regime on Ongava Game Reserve. Samples are collected to reflect changes in habitat quality, including climatic conditions, carbon sequestration, pollutants, nutrient levels, food availability and water quality. Beyond environmental or management-induced changes, bio-indicators also preserve genetic information.

The project has:

1) Defined a set of key indicator species and materials from different taxa and strata that form the core of a long-term sample repository;
2) Set up the facilities required for reliable repository of biotic and abiotic materials that preserve environmental conditions and their changes for future analysis;
3) Developed a practicable, feasible and replicable survey methodology that will enable temporal and spatial replication; and
4) Produced a methods manual for regular bio-indicator collection and appropriate storage

Study area:

Ongava Game Reserve


Ongoing since 2021

Bio-indicator Study Area

Species of interest

Macrotermes spp.
Tragus berteronianus
Seasonal pans
e.g. Macrotermes spp.
e.g. Tragus berteronianus
e.g. Carnivore scats
e.g. Seasonal pans

Project latest news


  • Ongava Game Reserve, Namibia