Chairs and Scholars

Half-Earth is a call to protect half the land and sea in order to manage sufficient habitat to safeguard the bulk of biodiversity. The Half-Earth Chairs and Scholars program champions biodiversity research and nurtures scholarship to better understand our interconnected world and how to care for it.

The Half-Earth Chairs and Scholars program brings E.O. Wilson’s 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.

Who are the Half-Earth Chairs and Scholars?

Piotr Naskrecki

The objective of the Half-Earth Chairs and Scholars program is to support biodiversity research globally and to engage the world’s brightest minds in the Half-Earth Project mission. Chairs and Scholars will be locally and regionally engaged in biodiversity conservation in landscapes of critical importance to the Half-Earth Project.

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.

Ricardo Guta

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.

Take a trip to Gorongosa

On May 6, 2020, the Half-Earth Project hosted a live virtual happy hour in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, where Half-Earth Chair Piotr Naskrecki, Half-Earth Scholar Ricardo Guta, and scientific team member Norina Vicente shared their extraordinary Gorongosa success story, a story that is inspiring and informing other conservation efforts in Africa and around the world, blazing the path to a Half-Earth future.

Chairs
Chairs are selected for their research leadership and ability to be role models and mentors for the next generation of biodiversity researchers in their region and globally. Chairs accelerate awareness of the unique importance of biodiversity in their local and regional areas by building research capacity and mentoring junior researchers. Their research expands our understanding of biodiversity worldwide. Chairs will:

  • Conduct biodiversity research that produces conservation results relevant to the Half-Earth Project;
  • Disseminate findings in peer-reviewed academic journals, as well as through media for general audiences;
  • Mentor emerging scholars;
  • Participate in Half-Earth Project events, forums and other activities as representatives of their work in relation to the Half-Earth mission and goals;
  • Convene to study, plan, and communicate strategies to preserve and protect the biodiversity of our planet;
  • Participate in the Half-Earth Project Chairs and Scholars network.

Chairs are appointed to four-year terms and may be affiliated with universities, research institutions, and conservation organizations in regions around the world, including Africa, Asia & Pacific, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South America & Caribbean. Researchers from a broad range of relevant scientific disciplines are eligible. Following their term, Half-Earth Project Chairs assume tenured membership on the Half-Earth Council.

Scholars
Scholars are selected for their potential to become the next generation of biodiversity research leaders and to serve as exemplars for careers in conservation research and action. Scholars will:

  • Conduct biodiversity conservation research;
  • Disseminate findings in peer-reviewed academic journals, as well as through media for general audiences;
  • Participate in Half-Earth Project events, forums and other activities as representatives of their work in relation to the Half-Earth mission and goals.

Scholars will hold a two-year position, preferably mentored by a Chair. Scholars will be selected from candidates who have completed their undergraduate training and are embarking on research toward a masters or doctorate equivalent, with a demonstrated commitment to build a career in biodiversity research and conservation action.

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