The Half-Earth Chairs and Scholars program trains in biodiversity research and teaching that informs regional and worldwide conservation management, ultimately providing a model for next-generation stewardship and scientific leadership. The goal is to establish biodiversity research team members (Half-Earth Chairs) that provide leadership around the unique socioeconomic needs and conservation priorities of their particular region of the world, while also imparting their wisdom to local/regional next-generation scholars. Currently, this program is active in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. Locally, the program is training a new generation of local taxonomists and conservationists, each specializing in a different taxonomic group, and to collect new data on the distribution of various taxa to fill in gaps in the global Map of Life, the data source powering the Half-Earth Project Map.
The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation funded training in zoology, research equipment, workshops on taxonomy, and includes support for Dr. Piotr Naskrecki, Scientific Chair of the Half-Earth Project and Executive Director of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa, and Ricardo Guta, B.Sc., Half-Earth Scholar conducting research in the taxonomy and phylogeography of orthopteroid insects, currently enrolled in a M.Sc. program at the University of Cape Town. Other trainees include Norina Vicente, B.Sc., (pictured) conducting research in the taxonomy of ants and Lepidoptera, recently admitted to an M.Sc. program at the University of San Francisco, Ana Gledis da Conceição, B.Sc., researching taxonomy and bioacoustics of bats, currently enrolled in the M.Sc. program in conservation biology at BioEd Gorongosa. Former trainee Laura Macamo, B.Sc., is a student of molecular biology, enrolled at the University of South Florida; Laura received training in insect taxonomy and biodiversity documentation at the Wilson Laboratory.
Grantees in the inaugural Half-Earth Project Fellowship in Taxonomy and Biodiversity Exploration include Francisca de Salma Andicene, B.Sc., a botanist working in Cabo Delgado province, and Mousere Rodrigues, B.Sc., a conservation biologist responsible for plant monitoring in Manica province are being trained by renowned experts in East and southern African plants from Meise Botanic Garden in Brussels, Belgium. Their training will last for 2 months.