Qatar Natural History Group

People, Nature, Culture

January Talk: Education City Golf Club, our sustainability mission

Message from QNHG Chairwoman "We hope you will join us for our first talk of 2018. We welcome members and non-members alike and do not charge for our monthly talks. Doors open at 6:30 PM and we offer tea and biscuits and time to peruse the QNHG library before the meeting begins at 7:00 PM. Our Rambles and Membership tables will also be open shortly after 6:30."

December Talk: Wastewater - The Untapped resource 

Wastewater: The Untapped resource Speaker by Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook

Talk is on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Doha English Speaking School click on the link for direction


Synopsis of talk

The 2017 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report, entitled “Wastewater: The Untapped Resource”, demonstrates how improved wastewater management generates social, environmental and economic benefits essential for sustainable development and to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report’s title reflects the critical role that wastewater is poised to play in the context of a circular economy, whereby economic development is balanced with the protection of natural resources and environmental sustainability, and where a cleaner and more sustainable economy has a positive effect on the water quality. The presentation will particularly focus on the use of natural systems for wastewater management in situations of water scarcity countries like the Arab-region. 

Short biography

Prof Stefan UhlenbrookProfessor Stefan Uhlenbrook is since November 2015 the Coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP, UNESCO programme) and the Director of the Programme Office on Global Water Assessment in Perugia, Italy. Before that he worked at UNESCO-IHE as Professor of Hydrology (2005- 2015), Deputy Director (Vice -Rector) for Academic and Student Affairs (2000 -2014) and Director a.i. (acting Rector; 2014-2015). He did his PhD (1999) and habilitation (2003) at the University of Freiburg, Germany. He is also a Professor for Experimental Hydrology at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands (2009-now)

Professor Uhlenbrook’s main expertise includes water assessments, hydrological process research, river basin modeling and water resources management. Many of his research and development projects have identified the impact of global changes on water cycle dynamics in different hydro-climate regions in Africa and Asia. He is keen on translating science based water knowledge to effective policies and strategies that contribute to environmental, economic and societal sustainability. Therefore, he is directly involved in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

November Talk #2: An Underwater Video Survey of the Sharks & Rays (Elasmobranchs) & Fish of Qatar:  Can Virtual Reality Be a Useful Tool? By Dr. J. Jed Brown

 Talk is on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Qatar University Library New (Main) Library B13, Ground Floor room 111, Virtual Reality Laboratory (Women’s side). 

Location Coordinates:  25°22'38.71"N; 51°29'24.95"E

Synopsis of talk

Baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) were deployed in the territorial waters of Qatar in order to gain an understanding of the abundance of sharks and rays and fish in Qatar. There is a particular interest in collecting data on the status of sharks and rays, as many of their species are under threat. Thus far over 200 hours of videos have been captured, and only a few sharks or rays have been observed.  In addition to single camera BRUV’s, we also deploy a 360-degree camera housing, which produces 360° videos. These videos can be viewed with virtual reality headsets, which may prove to be a useful outreach tool to disseminate information about the marine environment to the general public.    

Short biography

Jed_BrownDr. J. Jed Brown was research faculty at the Center for Sustainable Development at Qatar University in Doha. He has expertise in fisheries, aquaculture, high salinity agriculture and has conducted extensive research in this area. He obtained his M.S. from Stony Brook University, USA in marine environmental science and his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in sustainable aquaculture.

In a past position in Abu Dhabi, Dr. Brown worked to develop a large integrated seawater agriculture/aquaculture project for the coastal desert that aimed to also produce biofuels. He conducted a large research project to screen various populations of salt-tolerant plants (halophytes) for production under seawater irrigation for this effort.

He has served for many years as a leader of natural resource management programs and projects for the US federal and state governments, including Chief of Fisheries for the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Presentation overview:

Dr. Brown will present an overview of his project and show current results, then Mohamed Ali Hammami of the Virtual Reality (VR) Lab will give a short overview of the VR equipment/facilities and finally participants can watch several of the 360° videos from the project on the equipment at the VR lab.

To register for this talk, please contact

Dr. Aspa D. Chatziefthimiou, Talks Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ms. Sheri Kenly, QNHG Chairperson, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

November Talk: The Geology of Qatar for Non-Geologists by Dr John M. Rivers, Geologic Researcher at ExxonMobil Research Qatar

Talk is on Wednesday, November 1st 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Doha English Speaking School click on the link for direction

Synopsis of talk

Have you laboured under the weight of perplexity caused by questions like, “Why do Qatar rocks have gas?” or “Why did a hole appear in the road?”  Have you suffered from sleep deprivation as a result of not knowing why pristine piles sea shells can be found lazily lying on the dry ground kilometres from the sea?  Maybe your burning questions are more mundane like, “What kinds of rocks can I find around Qatar?” and, for that matter, “What is a rock, exactly?”  These questions and more will all be answered in this non-technical and informal presentation on the geology of Qatar. 

Short biography

Dr John Rivers is a geologist working for ExxonMobil Research Qatar with nine years’ of research experience in petroleum-related geologic systems. His current research focuses on characterization of limestone sediments and rocks forming in modern Qatar coastal environments, and occurring in the local subsurface rock record.

October Talk: UNESCO protection of natural heritage: Al Reem and beyond

UNESCO protection of natural heritage: Al Reem and beyond by Dr. Anna Paolini, UNESCO Representative in the Arab States of the Gulf and Yemen and Director UNESCO Doha Office since September 2013.

Talk is on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Doha English Speaking School click on the link for direction

Synopsis of talk

The presentation will highlight the work that UNESCO is doing in the field of protection of natural heritage in relation to the new UN Sustainable Development Goal Agenda. The talk will present the Natural World Heritage program and the Man and the Biosphere MAB program, which are important initiatives of the Organization. In Qatar the Al Reem reserve is preserved and valued under MAB definition and the WH site of Zubara is part of it. Nevertheless, many challenges are still present in the management of the reserve and there is a need for more engagement from the private-public sector to highlight its values.

Short biography

Anna PaoliniDr. Paolini was UNESCO Representative and Head of Office in Uzbekistan from 2007 to 2009 and later she covered the same position in Jordan. In 1992, she joined UNESCO as specialist in the field of culture at the Regional Office in Amman. In 1997, she moved to UNESCO HQ covering several positions within the Culture Sector including being responsible of movable heritage activities and on heritage in conflict response in the Arab region. Prior to that, she held a research associate role at the Institute of Architecture of Venice, worked in restoration in Italy and carried out research in the field of urban rehabilitation in several Arab and African countries. She holds a Master’s degrees in Architecture and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning for Developing Countries, a post-graduate degree on Development Cooperation, as well as a Ph.D. in Urban and Territorial Engineering. Dr. Paolini is a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the Italian Association of Professional Architects and is author of several papers on different cultural heritage subjects.

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