Dr Berhan Ahmed is currently pursuing the use of insects in addressing major significant environmental challenges. His contribution to date has included the following:
The effect of climate change on termite taxonomy and distribution in Africa. Termites constitute an integral component of various ecosystems in Africa. Termites are also amongst the most difficult of the insects to study because of their cryptic behaviour. There are around 2600 species of termites (Isoptera) in 280 genera which have been described worldwide and about 39% of the total termite species are found in Africa. Some termite species are well known pests of agricultural crops, forest trees, wood products and timber-in-service. Thus, they are responsible for considerable damage in building structures in Africa. Termite identification is crucial to understanding termite distribution and to develop an integrated termite pest management (IPM) system. Published literature on the taxonomy and distribution of termites in Africa with particular reference to climate change is scanty.
Biomimicry of termite engineering for water and soil conservation. The aim of this study is to present humanity and termites as design partners in the creation of a new dimension of ecosystem understanding. This understanding is based upon the likelihood that termites, as truly symbiotic detrivores, have developed optimal architecture and design for water and soil conservation in ecosystems over millions of years. In this biomimicry study the objective is to apply and refine termite system designs for better water and soil management by government, industry and the public.
The development of novel termite physical barrier the “crushed rocks” know as Granitgard, and the ongoing evaluation of the physical barrier and the integration of the barrier into termite pest management systems for building protection. Furthermore, Granitgard is included in the current Australian Stan