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In interview: Gonçalo Costa, researcher at cE3c, awarded with National Geographic Early Career Grant

8/07/2018. Interview by Marta Daniela Santos. Photo by Luís Catarino. 

Meet Gonçalo Costa, researcher at cE3c, and his Project awarded with a National Geographic Early Career Grant!

After a Bachelor in Biology by the Institute of Agronomy (ISA) of the University of Lisbon (2011-2014), Gonçalo Costa completed a Master in Evolutionary and Developmental Biology at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (2014-2017), in which he studied an integrative approach to unravel the evolutionary history of Western Mediterranean small cicadas. This research led, among other results, to the identification of two new cicada species from Morocco, detailed in a scientific paper of which Gonçalo Costa is first author (available here).

 

Project: The final cries of the unheard Moroccan cicadas

What is your project about?

My project will focus on the Moroccan cicadas. There is an incredible diversity that is unbeknown to science. Plus, these cicadas are threatened by overgrazing, desertification and anthropogenic factors. Our project will unveil the diversity of Moroccan cicadas and raise awareness on these poorly known species.

When will it take place?

It has already begun, on June 28… so, by the time you read this I will be in Morocco.

Why is this problem important? 

There is a large knowledge gap in cicadas between both margins of the Mediterranean Sea, and the Moroccan cicadas lack a conservation status and legal protection. Our project's final goal is to take the first steps to protect these cicadas. National Geographic is a key supporter to upgrade our reach to the most general audience.

How will you study it?

We will visit collection points from previous expeditions and explore new points in the Atlas cordillera. We will study the cicadas with an integrative approach to obtain a full picture of the cicada's history and habitat.

Who is part of the team?

Our team of explorers is composed of five people: Eduardo Marabuto, Vera Nunes and myself will collect cicadas, Miguel Ramirez will be our photographer and videographer. Moulay El Hidan will be our local collaborator from Marrakesh.

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