OKEON project featured in Ryukyu Shinpo


Ryukyu Shinpo, an Okinawan local newspaper, reported on the OKEON project in its education section on January 29th. The article describes the project in depth, from the importance of biodiversity with an emphasis on insects and the project’s role in furthering our knowledge, to the technological aspects of the project including the use of databases and weather stations, to the process of setting up the network including communicating with collaborators, planning the sites and setting up traps.

OKEON project not only serves as a monitoring network of the terrestrial ecosystem in Okinawa, it also exemplifies one of OIST’s goals of “Contributing to the promotion Okinawa (沖縄振興への貢献)” as the project provides local knowledge back to the local people. In particular, the article emphasized the role of Masashi Yoshimura and Masako Osagawara, a staff scientist and a technician of the Economo lab, as they served as links between the project and the local people. For example, they have involved local high school students in the project and taught them about insect biodiversity and collecting methods.

Full article can be accessed here

New Publication by Eli


A taxonomic and biogeographic revision of some notoriously invasive species belonging to the genus Pheidole, written by the excellent Eli Sarnat! A must read for everyone interested in invasive species. [Spoiler alert: Pheidole teneriffana became a junior synonym of P. indica!] Read the exciting story behind this finding at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151214102307.htm

Original publication can be found here

Takamine Ant Collection Donated to OIST

Image attribution: OIST

Image attribution: OIST

Mr. Hidetsune Takamine is a well-known Okinawan ant expert who has been collecting ants in Okinawa for around 40 years. His collection includes 116 species, 30 of which are endemic to Okinawa.

On November 26, 2015, Mr. Takamine donated his ant collection to OIST at a handover ceremony that took place at the Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit and will be stored in the unit’s specimen shelf as the Takamine Collection.

Dr. Masashi Yoshimura and Prof. Evan Economo expressed their gratitude towards Mr. Takamine, emphasizing how much this donation would contribute to academic research and more specifically how it would improve the scientific research on Okinawan biodiversity and help us understand how the diversity of Okinawa fits into the broader picture.



OPEN CAMPUS November 2015


The biodiversity and biocomplexity unit participated in OIST’s November 8th 2015 Open Campus and set up a booth to exhibit the “Wonders of Ants”.
Displays ranged from live ant specimens to pinned ant specimen that could be viewed under a microscope to stereographic ant images that becomes 3D with proper glasses. A novel aspect in this year’s event include a slam trap display, which is meant to demonstrate to the public a method we use to collect ants which is also the main method being used to collect insects for the OKEON project. Two 3D printed ants along with the original specimens from which they were made were also exhibited. It was a successful event once again.