Oldřich Říčan was born in 1976 in Czechoslovakia. He has been an aquarist from his childhood, which also set the scene for his first project during university education. This project set to document the development of coloration patterns in Middle American cichlid fishes. Later during his studies he became more interested into the diversity of cichlid fishes in particular and the Neotropical region in general. Oldřich Říčan concluded his university education in 2005 and since then works at his home university (University of South Bohemia; in a lovely small town) as a researcher and teacher. At his university he teaches the courses Diversity of fishes, Fish biology, Molecular methods in zoology, Zoogeography, and Methods of historical biogeography.
Oldřich Říčan enjoys traveling to all parts of the world, but South and Middle America has captured his heart. Despite his young age he has managed to organize ten expeditions so far and has also been fortunate enough to contribute to the knowledge about cichlid fishes. Oldřich Říčan now leads a small group of students with a similar interest and new discoveries are starting to accumulate at a much faster rate. The main projects on which they now work include: I) The geographical context of evolution of cichlid faunas. Their projects are located in several areas (Middle America + NW South America, the southern Brazilian highlands, The Guiana highlands, the tropical Andes). II) The different ways through which species originate and their influence on the morphological and ecological diversity. In their projects they work mainly with heroine, cichlasomatine and geophagine (Gymnogeophagus, Geophagus, Crenicichla) cichlids. The most obvious results of his work is the discovery of new species and solutions to some long standing questions about limits of genera. The ultimate questions that they strive to answer go however much deeper, like the way nature provides us with the marvelous diversity that we see all around us and that is becoming more endangered with every passing year.