Department of Environmental Life Sciences
Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Plant Ecology 分野


We study terrestrial plants and ecosystem mainly by three ecological approaches: interactions of plant individual and population to environment and other organisms, community and ecosystem analyses, and evolutional approach. The responses of plants to environment and other organisms are to be studied mostly based on field studies. The co-existence of multiple species in ecosystems and the mechanisms of maintaining biodiversity are also studied in temperate and tropical forests. The global changes in ecosystem and biodiversity are also within our range of research interests. Evolutional study on plant reproduction is the focus made by theoretical and field analyses.

Forest canopy composed of diverse tree species


We are mainly conducting research on the evolutionary ecology, reproductive ecology, community ecology and ecosystems of plants. Our studies cover a broad array of themes from physiological mechanisms that support ecological phenomena and the significance of evolutionary ecology to ecosystem functions and service evaluation. In recent years, the response of plants and ecosystems with respect to global environmental changes has become an important issue.


Professor Toru Nakashizuka

Plant diversity maintenance mechanism in forest ecosystems. I am conducting research jointly with other researchers in various fields on biodiversity maintenance mechanism, causes of their decrease, the ecosystem services lost because of their decrease, and other phenomena in tropical and temperate forests. I am also interested in a broad array of themes, not only ecological mechanisms such as plant ecology and animal plant interaction, but also the effects of human activities including climate change and socioeconomic causes, etc. The following are recent research themes:

  • Natural disturbances and forest dynamics
  • Tree life history and symbiotic mechanisms
  • Tropical forest canopy processes
  • Sustainable utilization and biodiversity of forests
  • Effects on ecosystems of, and adaptation measures to, climate change
Associate Professor Satoki Sakai

The Evolution of Plant Reproductive Strategies
Our purpose is to investigate the ultimate cause as to why the ecological characteristics of plants evolved. We are attempting to discover the reasons why these characteristics have evolved from the perspective that having such characteristics was advantageous for survival and reproduction. Our research methods are centered on field research and theoretical analysis. The most recent research themes of myself and the students in our laboratory are as follows.

  • Analyzing the tradeoffs of seed size and number in seed production
  • Evolutionarily stable sexual investment in plants
  • Analyzing flower visiting behavior in bumblebees
  • Variations in sexual investment within inflorescences
  • The evolution from heterostyly to dioecism
  • The evolution of flower forms
  • Sexual investment dependent on the group sex ratio in protandrous plants
  • The adaptive significance of flower scent in golden-rayed lilies
  • The influence pest damage to flowers and seeds exerts on plant reproductive investment
  • Honeydew excretion strategies in plants with inflorescences
Assistant Professor Hiroshi Ota
饗庭先生 写真HP用
Assistant Professor Masahiro Aiba

Biodiversity, Ecosystem functions and services

Thesis Titles

Master Degree

Effect of Platypus quercivorus on the forest food chain – From the composition and feeding analysis of hornets –
Statistical analysis of effect of peripheral land use on crop yield

Ph.D. Degree

Projection of local extinction probabilities of tree species in relation to landscape management scenarios. (Regional extinction rate prediction of tree species using landscape management scenarios)

A Student’s View


Misaki Ando 

Master’s program, 2nd year 

Undergraduate University and Department

Faculty of Science, Tohoku University

Research Subject

Honeydew excretion pattern and pollinator visiting behavior of plants with multiple sepals

We’re all good friends. We use nicknames, eat dinner together and feel right at home at the lab. But the best feature is everyone’s individualism! We have hikers, musicians, cooks, etc., etc. We’re all a bit strange, that’s what makes every day fun!