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The Centre de Recherche en Hydrobiologie (CRH) in Uvira, D.R. Congo has a long and special relationship with the research, exploration and discovery of Lake Tanganyika's exceptional biodiversity. This massive colonial-style building with art-deco motifs has more than fifty rooms, including aquarium and collections rooms; biology, chemistry and limnology laboratories, lecture rooms and offices, all centered around a lush interior courtyard.

The building, constructed by the Belgians in 1948-1950, was officially inagurated on 26 May 1950 as the Centre de Recherche Scientifique du Tanganyika, which was a part of the larger interdisciplinary Belgian Institut de Recherche Scientific en Afrique Centrale (IRSAC). A team of Belgian researchers worked out of Uvira in the 1940s and 1950s conducting much of the pioneer work on Lake Tanganyika, including taxonomic descriptions and biogeographic surveys. Their efforts still form a significant part of the primary literature on Lake Tanganyika.

During the 1964 Congolese rebellion, the expatriate researchers were evacuated, scientific equipment was looted and part of the building destroyed.

On 22 October 1975 the Institute de Recherche Scientifique (IRS) was formed through the merger of several Congolese research bodies, including IRSAC. CRH served as the hydrobiological branch of this institute. Thanks to support from other donors, and especially a continued Japanese presense, research activities resumed at CRH and it again became the premier institute for research on Lake Tanganyika. During the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, numerous international research expeditions were launched from the Center and many scientists from D.R. Congo, Japan, Europe and America conducted research there.

The economic and political deterioration in Congo during the 1990s and another set of rebellions destabilized the CRH and brought most research and international collaboration to a halt. When the Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project (LTBP) visited the CRH in 1997, the building was without electricity and water and the laboratories were not functional.

LTBP financed the renovation of CRH in 1998-1999. During this time CRH staff were busy carrying out research for the various special study components of LTBP. On the 21 August 1999, the staff of CRH and LTBP along with local authorities of Uvira celebrated the renovation and reopening of this historic building. We hope that it will continue to serve as an important center for exploring the riches of Lake Tanganyika for many years to come.
UVI Station
UVI Station
UVI Station
UVI Station
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