Laboratory of Animal Ecology
Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University

Research: from the field to genomes

 We study various aspects of ecology and evolution of animals such as insects and fishes using a wide range of approaches including molecular ecology, population and community ecology, behavioral ecology, and so on.
   While we enjoy field studies at various opportunities, we have much devoted to eco-genomic studies recently, in which we conduct not only molecular phylogenetic analyses but also analyses of de-nove genome sequences of fish and insect species to further understand the background of adaptive divergence and speciation.

Adaptive divergence and speciation

   We study adaptive divergence and speciation in animals through field studies, laboratory experiments and molecular ecological approaches. Study topics inculde morphological divergence in relation to adaptation to different diets and microhabitats in fishes and insects, divergence in insect genitalia and its consequences in speciation, etc. Recently we use vast sequence data generated by next-generation sequencers to search for genomic regions responsible for adaptive divergence.

Population ecology

   The study of population dynamics is fundamental in ecology and useful for understanding adaption and evolution and practice in biological conservation. We study population dynamics of endangered species such as the bagrid catfish.

Interspecific interactions and communities

   We study vairous aspects of interspecific interactions between species such as competition, predator-prey interaction, and related evolutionary aspects of competitors and predator/prey species. Study topics includes reproductive interference, adaptive divergence in predators, coevolution between predator and prey, etc. We also study diet compositions of species assemblage and food webs using gut content analysis and stable isotope analysis.

Phylogeography, historical biogeography

 Using molecular phylogenetic approaches, we study historical backgrounds of geographic distribution of a species, geographic patterns of population differentiation and speciation, and the impacts of climatic changes and geohistory on animal divergence. We have studied various species of freshwater fish in Japan, various beetles groups such as Carabus, Silphinae and Donaciinae, and so on.

Recent publications

Independent divergence of 13- and 17-year life cycles among three periodical cicada lineages
Sota et al. (2013) Proc. Nat.  Acad. Sci. USA DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1220060110.

Florivores on the dioecious shrub Eurya japonica and the preferences/performances of two polyphagous geometrid moths on male and female plants
Tsuji K, Sota T. (2013)  Entomol. Sci. DOI: 10.1111/ens.12019

Quantitative genetic analysis of subspecific differences in body shape in the snail-feeding carabid beetle Damaster blaptoides
Konuma J et al. (2013) Heredity 110: 86-93. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2012.68.

Genetic basis of male colour dimorphism in a Lake Tanganyika cichlid fish
Takahashi T et al. (2013)  Mol. Ecol. doi: 10.1111/mec.12120

A RAD-based linkage map and comparative genomics in the gudgeons (genus Gnathopogon, Cyprinidae)
Kakioka R et al. (2013) BMC Genomics 14:32. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-14-32.

The origins of limnetic forms and cryptic divergence in Gnathopogon fishes (Cyprinidae) in Japan
Kakioka R et al. (2013) Env. Biol. Fishes 96: 631-644. DOI:10.1007/s10641-012-0054-x.

Hidden mitochondrial DNA divergence in the Lake Biwa endemic goby Gymnogobius isaza: implications for its evolutionary history
Tabata R, Watanabe K (2013) Env. Biol. Fishes DOI:10.1007/s10641-012-0062-x.