The Half-Earth Chairs and Scholars program brings E.O. Wilson’s (1929–2021) vision for Half-Earth to life by supporting research efforts to better understand the biodiversity of our world. Chairs and Scholars provide leadership around the unique socioeconomic needs and conservation priorities of their region of the world, increasing the global footprint, depth of academic rigor, and regional scientific insight needed to successfully reach the goal of Half-Earth.
The Half-Earth Chairs and Scholars program champions the work of the world’s brightest minds, supporting their scientific leadership, biodiversity research and teaching that informs regional and worldwide conservation management and provides a model for next-generation stewardship.
“The Foundation and Half-Earth Project are committed to promoting model field research that builds a more comprehensive database of the Earth’s vast biodiversity and utilizes this as a fundamental tool for the management of places for conservation. So, we’re very proud to have Piotr and Ricardo lead the way as our inaugural Half-Earth Chair and Scholar.” – Paula Ehrlich, President and CEO, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and Half-Earth Project lead
Inaugural Half-Earth Chair Piotr Naskrecki is an entomologist, conservation biologist, author, and photographer based at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. He currently directs the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique where he trains a new cadre of Mozambican biologists and conservationists, and helps rebuild the park, which suffered during the recent civil war in that country.
Inaugural Half-Earth Scholar Ricardo Guta is a research technician at the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory in Gorongosa National Park. Ricardo joined a Gorongosa biodiversity survey as an intern, and has been a member of the scientific team ever since. Today, Ricardo’s work is focused on insect biodiversity, assisting in scientific research and monitoring, with particular emphasis on sampling species, assembling biological samples using appropriate methods, entering scientific data in the database and providing assistance to visiting researchers and staff of the Park.