Ecological Developmental Adaptability Life Sciences :
Ecological Dynamics


Ecological Integration

Ecological Integration

Eco-complexity and Adaptation: Toward an Integrative Understanding of Ecosystems

Research Overview

The ecosystem is extremely large and complex. A number of diverse organisms, and various non-living components, interact with each other through complicated dynamics to generate the different organizational levels of population, community, and ecosystem. Furthermore, living organisms, the essential components of ecosystem, are not static, but their morphology, behaviors, and interactions continuously change over time driven by evolutionary processes.
Many fundamental questions remain to be answered: How and why are organisms so diverse? What are the roles of evolutionary and ecological processes in the emergence and persistence of ecological systems? What keeps the ecosystem functional in nature? How can we cope with the “balance of nature”? 
In our laboratory, multiple approaches are used to understand ecological systems, including observations or experiments in the field or laboratory, data analysis using mathematical or statistical tools, and conceptual modeling.
Our interests encompass a breadth of different areas in basic and applied ecology, such as (1) understanding the structure and dynamics of ecosystems, (2) establishing a data-driven ecology model based on large data sets (e.g. environmental DNA (eDNA) data, ecological databases), (3) understanding the evolution of plant reproductive strategies (floral sexual allocation, coevolution of flower visitors, and seed production) and (4) developing a theoretical framework for forecasting and controlling ecological dynamics.

URLs http://hostgk3.biology.tohoku.ac.jp/

Faculty Members

Professor KONDOH Michio
Associate Professor SAKAI Satoki
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 KAWATSU Kazutaka
Integration of ecology and dynamical systems theory
Development of new analytical methods to understand ecological phenomena

Assistant Professor TANABE Akifumi
Assistant Professor SUZUKI-OHNO Yukari
Theoretical Ecology, Estimation of Species Distribution, Environmental DNA, Citizen Science, Bumblebees