Biodiversity Genomics Europe

Honour is due!

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Hafsa Castillo

University of Wageningen (NL), Evolutionary Biologist

About you
I live in Wageningen, where I study Biology at the University. Hopefully in a bit over a year I will start my PhD!

Hafsa’s contribution
Hafsa has helped BGE collect a high number of cicadas in rural areas of South Holland. The cicada orni, or “Ash Cicada” is more extended in the Mediterranean but since 2008, this species has been reported from the Netherlands, mainly from cities; only a few records have come from rural areas. Thanks to Hafsa’s contribution, we will be able to study the genomic diversity of a “Southern” species newly arrived to the Northern areas of Europe.

Why I am interested in cicadas

I come from the interior of The Netherlands and they are everywhere around here! They are so tiny but, at the same time, they are incredibly relevant for the balance in the environment. I have been interested in them ever since I was a little child.



What did you know about biodiversity (and genomics in particular) before enrolling as a citizen scientist in the BGE project?
I am studying Evolutionary Biology, so I am obviously familiar with a variety of topics related to Biodiversity. However, I consider myself more of a taxonomist, so my knowledge of genomics is relatively limited. I am willing to learn, though!

What do you like to do with your time when you’re not helping us?
I like to take long walks in the forest and also cooking. I am a cupcake lover!

Complete the sentence: “Eating insects is…
Really not for me!

You get on a train and then realise that the Minister for the Environment of your country is seated next to you. You have a one-hour trip ahead.  What is the one thing you would like to talk to him/her about?
Wow, that would be strange! But I think that, first of all, I would ask him to let young people, students, to have our voices heard. We are the ones who will have to deal with the problems of our planet in the future.

Tell us a headline that you would like to read in tomorrow’s newspapers
The national budget for science has been doubled.


Contact with Hafsa en Instagram: @Hafsabiologist28

Questions or remarks?


Biodiversity Genomics Europe

Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Darwinweg 2
2333 CR – Leiden
(The Netherlands)

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