Ricardo Ontillera

Research interests: Social Anthropology; Human-Animal Studies (HAS); Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK); Environmental Anthropology; Ecosystem Services.

Ricardo is trained as a biologist and social anthropologist with a particular interest in Human-Animal studies (HAS), traditional ecological knowledge, environmental anthropology and ecosystem services. He is the curator of our blog series Hidden Anthropology Gems.

During his PhD at the University of Roehampton, he worked within the multi-disciplinary AHRC-funded “Cultural and Scientific Perception of Human-Chicken Interaction”. His thesis, titled ‘Of casteadores, gallos y galleras: the cockfight world in the Canary Islands’, explores the world of cockfighting in the Canary Islands, where over three consecutive years (2016-2018) a wide range of issues were researched. The study was not restricted to the fights themselves, but it was also an exploration of the encompassing world of cockfighting, including breeding, training, and socialising, that brought about those public fights and performances.

He has also worked on research projects relating to the analysis of traditional ecological knowledge, ecosystem services, social networks analysis (SNA) and ethnography in different Spanish contexts, some of which were the home gardens from Sierra Norte de Madrid and the transhumant shepherds of the Conquense Drove Road. For the last ten years, he has been a collaborator for the Spanish Inventory of Traditional Knowledge (SITK).

In autumn 2021, he came back at the University of Roehampton to spend a year as a SeNSS Post-Doctoral Fellow. He will have Professor Garry Marvin and Professor Rebecca Cassidy (Goldsmiths) as his mentors. During this time, he and Garry will work on a project exploring the notions of casta (caste) and raza (race) as applied to the animals in Spanish cockfighting and bullfighting. Ricardo will also be working on transforming his PhD thesis, on cockfighting in the Canary Islands, into a monograph for publication.


2020          Ontillera-Sánchez, R.R. Of casteadores, gallos y galleras: the cockfight world in the Canary Islands. Doctoral Dissertation. Department of Life Sciences. University of Roehampton (London).

2018          Ontillera-Sánchez, R., Aceituno-Mata, L. & Tardío, J. Sonchus oleraceus L. In: Pardo de Santayana, M.; Morales, R.; Tardío, J.; Aceituno, L. & Molina, M. (eds.). Inventario español de los conocimientos tradicionales relativos a la biodiversidad (segunda fase: tomo 3). pp. 89-95. Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. ISBN: 978-84-491-1472-4.

2014          Ontillera, R. & González, J.A. Marisma de Doñana. In: Pardo de Santayana, M.; Morales, R.; Aceituno, L. & Molina, M. (eds.). Inventario español de los conocimientos tradicionales relativos a la biodiversidad. pp. 319-333. Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente. ISBN: 978-84-491-1401-4.

2014          Reyes-García, V., Aceituno-Mata, L., Calvet-Mir, L., Garnatje, T., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Lastra, J.J., Ontillera, R., Parada, M., Rigat, M., Vallès, J., Vila, S., Pardo-de-Santayana, M.  Resilience of traditional knowledge systems: The case of agricultural knowledge in home gardens of the Iberian Peninsula. Global Environ. Change 24: 223-231. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.11.022

2013          Reyes-García, V., Molina, J.L., Calvet-Mir, L., Aceituno-Mata, L., Lastra, J.J., Ontillera, R., Parada, M., Pardo-de-Santayana, M., Rigat, M., Vallès, J. & Garnatje, T. “Tertius gaudens”: germplasm exchange networks and agroecological knowledge among home gardeners in the Iberian Peninsula. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 9:53. https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-9-53 

2013          Oteros-Rozas, E., Ontillera-Sánchez, R.R., Sanosa, P., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Reyes-García, V. & González-Novoa, J.A. Traditional ecological knowledge among transhumant pastoralists in Mediterranean Spain. Ecology and Society 18 (3): 33. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05597-180333

2012          Oteros-Rozas, E., González, E., Hevia, V., Ontillera-Sánchez, RR., Zorrilla-Miras, P. & González-Novoa, J.A. Transhumance at Conquense Royal Drove: sustainable livestock´s example. El Ecologista 73: 44-46.

2007          Sandín, M. & UAM biology students. A Survival Manifesto. Continuing the fight against climate change. Quercus 259: 80.