Ricardo Guta was born and raised in the centre of Mozambique, 200 km away from the Gorongosa National Park (GNP). He has always had very diverse interests in nature and received a technical vocational education studying agriculture and livestock. During his degree, he was always trying to make discoveries to share with his colleagues. In 2012, he founded the PROTECSA Animal Protection and Health Project, providing technical care and assistance to animals with respect to health, food and reproductive management. This included research on phytotherapeutic plants for the treatment and nutrition of animals. The main goals of the project were to support local communities where animals died due to a lack of funds to acquire synthetic drugs, as well as to combat pollution of the environment.
In 2013 Ricardo developed his first research project on the use of the Azadirachta indica plant to control gastrointestinal nematodes in goats. In the same year he probably had one of the best opportunities in his life, to participate as an intern on the first biodiversity survey in GNP. This involved liaising with national and international scientists and learning about research methodology. Later he become a member of the scientific team, working in the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity laboratory (EOWL) in GNP as a research technician focussing on the documentation of insect biodiversity. That experience aroused his interest in understanding insect biology, evolution and interactions with other organisms. This in turn led him to enrol for a Biological Science Course degree at Universidade Lúrio in Mozambique, studying the general concept of organismal biology in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Ricardo’s overriding interests lie in ecology, biogeography, systematics, photography, and conservation of insects, as well as applying his knowledge of entomology to practical areas such as agriculture and forensics. Despite the fact that he is still in the early stages of his career as an entomologist, he has already obtained several professional achievements including a publication “Katydids (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) of Gorongosa National Park and Central Mozambique”. He was a recipient of a 6-month European Union Erasmus scholarship that allowed him to receive training in molecular biology at the Adam Mickiewicz University, in Poland. He also received a National Geographic Grant to study grasshoppers and katydids in Mozambique and his studies at UCT are supported by a Half-Earth Scholarship from the E.O.Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.
Ricardo hopes that the CB Masters degree will enable him to use appropriate tools for conservation of biodiversity of insects in suitable ways, allowing coexistence between people and nature.
Thesis: Phylogeography, ecology and acoustic behaviour of a flightless spring katydid genus endemic to Fynbos and Succulent Karoo. Supervisors: Charlene Janion-Scheepers, Piotr Naskrecki.