Dr Esther Kioko
Esther is a senior research scientist and is Head of the Zoology Department at the National Museums of Kenya. She holds a PhD in Agricultural Entomology and a postgraduate Diploma in Applied Taxonomy. She has led and coordinated a number of multi-institutional projects including: Assessment of the Insects as food sources for improving food security, rural livelihoods and adaptation to climate change (2011-2015) and Developing incentives for community participation in forest conservation through the use of commercial insects in Kenya (2004-2009). She is also coordinating the National Museums of Kenya’s Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre funded project on the Zoological Survey of Kenya.
Esther is currently leading and coordinating a large project funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation that aims to assess Lepidoptera pollinator diversity in East Africa. In this region, a majority of subsistence and cash crops rely on insect pollination, but there is a dearth of information on status and trends in African pollinator biodiversity that supports agriculture, human health and biodiversity across the continent. The project that Esther is leading aims to quantify the diversity and distribution of Lepidoptera pollinators by digitisation of the National Museums of Kenya’s collection from across East and Central Africa, dating from the colonial period to the present day. A key part of this project is capacity building, through mobilising historic data held in museum collections, as well as training the next generation of African pollinator scientists.