Prince Akishino Visits Arilab

16-11-14-005

Image from QAB

On November 14, 2016, His Imperial Highness attended the Joint Meeting of the International Congress of Zoology and the Zoological Society of Japan and visited the OIST campus, including the Economo Lab. Evan gave an overview of our lab research, including ant phylogenies, GABI/antmaps.org, the OKEON Churamori project, studying ant morphology with micro-CT, invasive ants and ant projects in Madagascar. The Prince has a PhD in molecular phylogenetics (!), so he understands our research very well and asked terrific questions.

Several media outlets broadcasted the visit, including NHK, OTV and QAB.

Let’s head to OIST Science Festa 2016 – Open Campus! OISTサイエンスフェスタ2016 −オープンキャンパス− へ向けて、只今準備中。

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The Economo unit is once again setting up a booth at the OIST Science Festa 2016 as part of the Open Campus event. “The Wonder of Ants”, a section of the booth that has always been popular, is also being exhibited but with more content than before. Moreover, this year the OKEON Churamori project will also set up its own section, with various collaborators gathering at the event, including teachers and students from Hentona and Yomitan high schools; Takamine san, the famous ant scholar who studied Okinawa ants for over 40 years; finally, Tone san, the curator of the Okinawa city museum and a speaker at the joint talk event that was recently held at the same museum.

At the Science Cafe, Yoshimura san and Tone san will be collaborating once again. Let’s talk about what we can do individually to preserve the environment of Okinawa.

After the Science Cafe, the teachers and students from Hentona high school will present their research results on ants collected from their school, which is surrounded by the nature of Yanbaru.

Time : 2016 November 27 (Sunday)
10:00~16:00 (Entry is until 5:30)
Location: OIST campus
https://www.oist.jp/ja/science-festival

The Wonder of Ants & The OKEON Churamori Project
Did you know that there are over 12000 described species of ants? Though ants are ubiquitous, they are infact very interesting creatures and fascinate not only the general public but also researchers. Similar to humans, they create their own society with each individual playing a role to accomplish tasks. Let’s experience together the profound world of ants.
We will display the efforts and the results of our environmental monitoring network, the OKEON Churamori Project.

10:45-12:15 Lab 3
OKEON Churamori Project〜Let’s work together for the future of Okinawa〜
Speaker: Masashi Yoshimura (OIST Biodiversity / Biocomplexity Unit)
Speaker: Tone Koichi (Okinawa municipal museum)

12:15-12:30 Lab 3
The ants of Hentona High School

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エコノモユニットでは、今年もOISTサイエンスフェスタ2016−オープンキャンパス− に、ブースを出すことになりました。いつもの人気コーナー「アリの不思議」もパワーアップの予定。さらに、今年は「OKEON美ら森プロジェクト」のコーナーを拡大します。プロジェクトが始動してからの成果を紹介します。

これまでの観測データの一部を公開するほか、プロジェクトの柱のひとつ、社会ネットワークの大きな成果として、地域との協働体制の中で一緒に活躍する方々による成果発表や、ボランティアとしての参加を予定しています。

島内の高校から辺土名高校の生徒さんたちは、この1年のアリ類研究の成果を発表の予定。読谷高校の生徒さん達は、ブースのお手伝いをしてくれます。沖縄のアリ研究に40年以上取り組んできた、あのアリ名人高嶺さんは、自らのアリ研究普及資料持参で展示に参加。そして、トンボの専門家でもある沖縄市立郷土博物館の学芸員刀禰さん。先日コーディネータの吉村がトークイベントで共演しましたが、今度は、刀禰さんがブースに来て博物館を紹介してくれます。

さらに、サイエンスカフェでは、刀禰さんがゲストスピーカーとして出演することになり、コーディネータ吉村との再共演が実現します。サイエンスカフェに引き続いては、辺土名高校の生徒さんたちによる成果発表の場を設定しています。

OKEON美ら森プロジェクトが目標としている、沖縄社会との協働ネットワークの構築。OISTサイエンスフェスタ2016 −オープンキャンパス− に集ってくださる皆さんは、地域社会とプロジェクトとの良い関係を象徴する大きな成果です。

みなさんお誘い合わせの上ぜひぜひ足をお運びください!!

日時: 2016年11月27日(日)
10:00~16:00 (入場は15:30まで)
会場: OISTキャンパス
https://www.oist.jp/ja/science-festival

アリのふしぎとOKEON美ら森プロジェクト
アリは1万2千種以上の種類が確認されているって、知っていましたか?ありふれた虫に見られがちですが、アリは、一般の人々だけでなく、研究者をも魅了する、実はとても興味深い生き物です。社会を作って生活していることもその一例。まるで私たち人間のように、それぞれが違った役割を果たすことで、全体の大きな仕事を達成します。実はとても奥の深いアリの世界を体験してみましょう。
沖縄の人たちと共に頑張る、環境モニタリングプロジェクト「OKEON美ら森プロジェクト」の取り組みや成果も展示!

10:45-12:15 Lab 3
OKEON美ら森プロジェクト〜沖縄の未来に、いま僕らができること〜
スピーカー:吉村 正志 (OIST生物多様性・複雑性研究ユニット・スタッフサイエンティスト)
スピーカー:刀禰 浩一 (沖縄市立郷土博物館 学芸員)
OISTが牽引する「OKEON美ら森プロジェクト」。沖縄の環境を調べて未来へ活かすことを目指して、環境調査とそれに関わる人たちのネットワークは沖縄本島全域に広がる。一方で、地元で地に足をつけて腰を据えた活動を展開し、地元の自然と人をつなぐ博物館。そして、自然環境を未来の世代へと受け継ぎたいと考える沖縄のみなさん。3者が沖縄の未来のためにできること、一緒に考えてみませんか?

12:15-12:30 Lab 3
辺土名高校内のアリ相
沖縄県には、約150種のアリが生息する。大自然やんばるに位置する辺土名高校内ではどれくらいの種類が生息し、どのような特徴がみられるかを校内の3地点で採集し、比較した。

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Highlights from the International Congress of Entomology in Orlando

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The nearly one-week long XXV International Congress of Entomology, under the theme Entomology without Borders, took place in Orlando this year from September 25-30. It brought together the largest delegation of scientists and experts in the history of the discipline with over 7000 participants and over 2000 talks, with topics ranging from biodiversity and conservation to ecology and evolution to medical entomology to taxonomy to IPM to science communication.

Various members of our lab participated in this conference by either giving a talk or presenting a poster, as listed below:
Evan Economo (Talk) Reconciling global macroecological pattern and macroevolutionary processes in ant biodiversity.
Paco Hita Garcia (Talk) Evolution, biogeography, and diversification of the genus Terataner.
Julia Janicki (Talk) antmaps.org: An interactive client-server mapping application for visualizing the ants of the world.
Cong Liu (Talk) Reorganization of taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic ant biodiversity after conversion to rubber plantation.
Eli Sarnat (Talk) Applied systematics of Pheidole: An interactive review of the world’s most invasive ant lineage.
Masashi Yoshimura (Poster) OKEON Chura-mori Project: A new environmental monitoring project in Okinawa, Japan

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Symposia on ants, phylogenetic methods, biodiversity and taxonomy were popular among the myrmecologists in our lab. Other symposia that were very interesting included one on weevils, another on science communication, and one on the use of biological specimen data.

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How can OIST’s OKEON project collaborate with Okinawan society so that both benefit in some way?

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While there are many different ways to answer this question, one important collaboration is with high schools in Okinawa. OKEON Chura-mori Project has been developing a new model of high school – university collaboration which benefits students, teachers and researchers alike.

For the past year, OKEON has worked with Futenma, Kyuyou, Kaiho and Hentona High Schools. Each school has collaborated with OKEON in slightly different ways, but students have primarily focused on ants found in their local area as the material of their school research activities. Planning and conducting scientific research is often beyond school curriculums, so in order for the high schools to take part, OKEON project leaders Yoshi and Masako created a training programme for high school teachers.

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The programme involves lectures, and a course for planning research, collecting, sorting, mounting and identifying ants.

By taking part, teachers can gain the skills and know-how to create their own research programmes using data from the OKEON project. For Kawabata-sensei, his study of ants during his university years led him to have a personal interest in revisiting the laboratory. Takara-sensei did not research biodiversity at university, but having done Time-Unit Sampling at his school for a year before taking part in the programme, his ability to identify species is already extremely high. Both teachers spoke about how they were looking forward to working with their students to come up with a research plan using their new skills based on current research. Their goals included wanting to encourage students to develop their interest in science and research, but also to create a knowledge network between teachers which exchanges information, and has access to but is not dependent on a university faculty.

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The high school teachers trained by OIST will have the skills and know-how to implement environmental monitoring activities and research, and specialist biodiversity data collection. These skills will in turn be passed down to the next generation of high school students.

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Once a full cycle has been completed (the student’s research is generally for a year), teachers and students can develop and improve their research methods, thereby improving the scientific capacity of the entire community. Because each high school will have unique ways of researching and contributing to OKEON, as well as different goals, there is scope for a self-sustaining network to evolve where teachers and students can share research methods and data.

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This high school teacher training programme is valuable to OIST and OKEON for two main reasons. The first is that there are enormous amounts of data being generated through OKEON, and the sampling system is currently focused on winged insects. Students will be able to focus on worker ants in their local area, generating data which can become the basis for further research at OIST.

The second reason is that this programme is a way to contribute to the sustainability of Okinawan society in the broadest sense possible. Through the training of high school teachers, OIST and OKEON can contribute to education in Okinawa. At Hentona High School, for example, there are specific classes pertaining to the environment, within which this research can become an important component.

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Students can take the specialist research skills they learn into their further study, perhaps even coming back to OIST to work with OKEON data. OIST can play an important role in allowing a strong research community in Okinawa to flourish, which will have the capacity not only to understand but to appreciate and protect the biodiversity of the island.

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