OIST minisymposium on using advanced imaging techniques to study evolution of ant phenotypes

Last week our lab hosted an OIST Mini Symposium titled “Advances in imaging, quantifying, and understanding the evolution of ant phenotypes” organized by Evan Economo and Francisco Hita Garcia. The aim of the symposium was to gather a small but selected group of leading researchers interested in the evolution of ant phenotypes with a strong focus on the use of x-ray microtomography (micro-CT). Our list of speakers covered experts in the fields of molecular and morphological systematics, anatomy, functional morphology, comparative morphology, adaptive trait evolution, reproductive biology, linear and geometric morphometrics, and paleontology. All invitees gave outstanding talks and presented published or ongoing research in great detail and with beautiful 2D or 3D illustrations and/or videos.

Some talks provided conceptual and technical backgrounds and perspectives of how to use micro-CT for ant morphology, how to better integrate next-generation phenomics into systematics, palaeontology, and evolutionary biology, and how to use micro-CT data and downstream 3D applications for education and public outreach.

A strong focus of the symposium was the use of micro-CT for ant functional morphology, biomechanics, and the evolution of complex phenotypes. Some guests also showed recent advances in histology-based anatomy and reproductive biology, and shared ideas of how to combine traditional histology with modern 3D imaging technologies, such as micro-CT.

We also had a session focusing on the use of 2D linear and 3D geometric morphometrics and their application for ant phylogenetics, taxonomy, trait evolution, and more generally how to use large 3D phenotypical datasets to answer questions in evolutionary biology.

One afternoon was completely devoted to practical demonstrations of how to use 3D data. Our lab shared how we scan data post-processing, 3D virtual reconstructions, 3D animations, virtual/augmented reality, 3D printing. It was useful for sharing knowledge of methodology, and stimulating ideas for future directions and applications.

The three-day symposium provided ample opportunities for socializing and chatting about on-going and potential collaborations, discussions about methods and research results, as well as brainstorming about future directions for the field. At the same time our invitees got the chance to enjoy Japanese and Okinawan culture and cuisine and show off their Karaoke skills.

Invited speakers:
Phil Barden (New Jersey Institute of Technology)
Johan Billen (KU Leuven)
Benjamin Blanchard (U. Chicago and Field Museum)
Ayako Gotoh (Konan U.)
Yoshiaki Hashimoto (U. Hyogo, Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo)
Fuminori Ito (Kagawa U.)
Roberto Keller (Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência)
Andrea Lucky (U. Florida)
Christian Peeters (U. Pierre et Marie Curie)
Shauna Price (Field Museum)
Andrew Suarez (U. Illinois)

Internal speakers:
Evan P. Economo
Georg Fischer
Nick Friedman
Francisco Hita Garcia
Adam Khalife (U. Pierre et Marie Curie and OIST)

OKEON Churamori Project Symposium 2017

On Saturday, July 29th, many collaborators of the OKEON Churamori Project along with the general public gathered at OIST to attend the OKEON Churamori Project Symposium 2017. This event was the project’s first symposium and it was a great success, with over 170 attendees, interesting and informative talks, a panel discussion, and a post-symposium gathering that included hands-on exhibitions and a poster session where participants were able to exchange ideas.

OKEON Churamori Project Symposium 2017

We are pleased to announce a symposium for the OKEON Churamori Project. The symposium will bring together scientists, educators, and community members interested in monitoring and conserving Okinawa’s natural environment. Presentations and discussions will cover ongoing scientific research, citizen science, and environmental education efforts on the island. The symposium is open to all who are interested, please come!

Date: July 29 (Sat). 2017
Location: OIST B250 & Café Grano
Organizer: OIST Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit
Admission: Free
Registration: Register from the online form here

<lecture> 13:00-16:00
※ English – Japanese simultaneous interpretation is available
■ Evan Economo (OIST, Project PI)
「Introducing the OKEON Churamori Project: a new environmental monitoring network in Okinawa」
■ Masashi Yoshimura(OIST, Project coordinator)
「A new design of community collaborative project developing in Okinawa」
■ Nicholas Friedman (OIST, Researcher)
「Island song: how acoustic monitoring will help us understand and protect Okinawa’s biodiversity」
■ Koichi Tone (Okinawa Municipal Museum, curator)
「Local environmental research in collaboration with the OKEON Churamori Project」
■ High school research project networks
Hentona High School, Yomitan High School, Ikeda High School
■ Hana Kuroda (Ryukyu Shimpo, writer)
「Please Use the Newspapers for Educations」

<Keynote Speaker>
■ Yoshiaki Hashimoto (Museum of Nature and Human Activities Hyogo, PI)
「Where culture meets nature: Role of Natural history museum to support from nature to culture legacy」

<Panel discussion> 16:10-16:40

<Poster/Display & Teatime> 16:50-17:30
■ Poster display (Kyuyo High School, Futenma High School, OKEON)
■ Display of field sampling devices (OKEON)
■ Hands-on exhibition (Tamagusuku Youth & Children Center, Okinawa Zoo and Museum, Okinawa Biological Club, Naha Nature Conservation Office, Ministry of the environment, Nago Museum and Chatan Town Board of Education)

Cosponsor: The Council for Promotion of OIST
Supporters: Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education,Department of Environmental and Community Affairs, Okinawa Prefecture Government,University of the Ryukyus, Naha Nature Conservation Office, Ministry of the Environment,Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times

December 2016 Joint Lab Meeting with Tsuji Lab


On December 5, arilab had another joint lab meeting with the Tsuji lab from the University of the Ryukyus.

Yoshi, the coordinator of the OKEON Churamori Project, gave a presentation on the current status of the project. Compared to a year ago, the project has made great progress, with 72 SLAM traps, 24 weather stations, and some camera traps and acoustic traps set up. Specimens are being sorted and ant species are being identified, the database is up and running and already holds a lot of data, much GIS data has been compiled and many models created, and the website is also complete.


From the Tsuji lab side, Dr. Kaori Tsurui, part of the Center for Strategic Research Project, gave a presentation titled “Interactions between guppies and mosquitofish: a good system for studying evolutionary ecology”.

After the talks, both labs went out together and continued discussion.

OKEON Churamori Project on radio again

OKEON Churamori project’s coordinator Dr. Yoshimura was interviewed as part of a FM Naha’s radio program “Magical Mystery Tour”. He talk about the project and how it had evolved since last year’s kick-off. This is the second radio interview with Typhoon FM and it lasted for an hour.


161029吉村正志/沖縄科学技術大学院大学OIST 生物多様性・複雑性研究ユニット
2016年10月29日 更新