Meet scientist Perpetra Akite, featured in the Ugandan Butterflies podcast:
Where do you work?
I am affiliated with the Makerere University, College of Natural Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences in Kampala, Uganda and the University of Bergen, Department of Biology, Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group, in Bergen, Norway.
What do you study?
Using insects as indicators of ecosystem health and advocacy for their conservation in their natural habitats.
What are three titles that would you give yourself?
Naturalist, Entomologist, Advocate for Nature.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
Much of my work is done out in the field often in forests and any other habitats that may be subject for a particular job. My focus is often to go out with appropriate field gears and equipment and carry out field surveys on insect communities or other taxa recording aspects of their ecology. This is done using standard research methodology. I also get involved in all sorts of vocation both within Science and outside Science. I like photography and spend quite a good deal of my time trying to do that in my free time, although I limit my subjects to things in the wild and very little human photography. I like music and get to sing with some members of my local church. I also get time to talk to pupils to get them interested in Science.
What do you like most about science?
Today the worldwide scientific community cannot neglect the global challenges facing conservation and development. As an ecologist I’m personally faced with the challenge of harmonizing the theoretical aspects of wise use of natural resources with human development and the reality that faces the communities where these resources are found; a day-to-day challenge of many young biologists especially in tropical countries.
My field of study therefore gives me the opportunity to interact with nature, work out with a great team of like-minded people and the chance to contribute towards conservation of our natural heritage through research. As I say to my friends who often wonder why on earth I would spend days and nights in the forests, the best answer has always been simple; field biology does not pay financially but it’s the most rewarding career emotionally, often giving one the most fulfilled feeling as you interest with your subject of interest, in my case the Lepidoptera besides other taxa and aspect of nature.