"Luís Ceríaco, biologist and curator of the Museum of Natural History and Science of the University of Porto (MHNC-UP), will receive a grant from the National Geographic Society to explore, in Angola, one of the most mysterious and fascinating areas of the African continent," reveals the university in a note published on its website.
According to the statement, the biologist will explore the Serra da Neve, a mountain range located in the province of Namibe that is "covered by the vegetation of the Miombo forest, which emerges in contrast with the aridity of the surrounding savannahs of Mopane. A kind of oasis of vegetation floating in the desert. Its unique characteristics are the magnet that attracts researchers," indicates the note
"Suddenly, in the middle of a semi-desert and flat area, we have an authentic rock island that rises another 1900 meters above its surroundings," explained Luís Ceríaco, quoted in the university note.
The biologist has already made two expeditions to this mountain range and discovered new species, including an earless frog, a spiny lizard, and a dwarf gecko.
Now he's off to Angola for the third time in search of new species: Luís Ceríaco intends to make the "most exhaustive possible survey of various taxonomic groups - from plants to insects, mammals, birds, and of course amphibians and reptiles.
The objective of the expedition is to "document all this unknown biodiversity, understand the relationships between species and the environment, and, of course, potentially discover new species."
The biologist believes that this survey, transformed into a "general inventory of biodiversity of the mountain", may support "the creation, by the Angolan authorities, of a Serra da Neve conservation area".
For now there is still no date for the start of the expedition, because of the constraints imposed by the pandemic, but it is known that his team, composed of ten researchers, "should leave for the field in the second half of this year".
Luís Ceríaco "does research in the history of science, museology and biodiversity, working closely with colleagues and museums in Portuguese-speaking countries (PALOP).