Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences
Division of Developmental and Cell Biology

Marine Ecological Behavior 分野

Marine environments are populated by various animals, representing almost all phyla and ranging from the simplest to the most complex body plan. We are currently clarifying how individual and social behavior developed in the Animalia by studying the marine animals, such as the fiddler crab (genus Uca), which shows well-developed social behavior, and has adapted its sensory organs (vision and acoustic senses) to life in the sea and partly on land. In addition, we are studying the behavior of symbiont gastropods, which attach themselves to host gastropod shells, in order to clarify the developmental process of symbiosis as a specialized form of social behavior related to interspecific interaction.
Male fiddler crab (Uca perplexa) engaging in courtship behavior toward the female.



Asamushi Marine Biological Station, the predecessor to the Research Center for Marine Biology, was established shortly after the founding of Tohoku Imperial University. The station created a foundation of knowledge concerning the ecology and phylogenetic classification of marine organisms, and also produced many fine scholars, such as Seiji Kokubo (head of the station from 1942), who was the progenitor of planktology in Japan.

With the passage of time, new approaches have been enthusiastically taken up in the fields of ecology and taxonomy such as molecular biological techniques. However, we have seen the appearance of global warming and deterioration of the natural environment, and the conditions which surround us have once again shifted our attention to the field.

There is a societal need for the advancement of scholarship and development of human resources who will create a new view of life and take responsibility for the future environment. In answer to this need, the Laboratory of Marine Ecological Behavior was established at the Research Center for Marine Biology to serve as a new base for marine organism field research and education. We will strive to stimulate even more than ever before research in this field and to cultivate capable human resources. The faculty consists of Professor Jotaro Urabe (joint appointment) and Assistant Professor Satoshi Takeda. We began accepting graduate students in 2008.


Professor Jotaro Urabe
  • The trophic dynamics and ecological stoichiometry of aquatic ecosystems.
  • Ecological impacts of changes in local and global environmental conditions on community and ecosystem processes.
Assistant Professor Satoshi Takeda
  • Sociobiology of semi-terrestrial crabs

Thesis Titles

Master Degree

Analysis of intertidal community structure on exposed rocky shores of Pacific ocean and Japan sea in north Japan, in relation to ocean currents (2013)

Host preference of a symbiotic flatworm Stylochoplana pusilla in relation to the ecology of littoral snails (2011)

A Student’s View




Undergraduate University and Department

Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science, Hirosaki University

Research Subject

Behavioral and ecological study of symbiosis

The laboratory of Marine ecological behavior is the Research center for Marine Biology, Asamushi, Graduate School of Life Science, Tohoku University. This center is surrounded by the sea, and we can observe and collect the marine organisms anytime in the field. In the building we always use seawater, and easily rear the animals. It is a big advantage for research of ecology and behavior of marine organisms.