Current Members

• Dr. MIYA, Masaki (Principal Investigator)

My earlier scientific career as a graduate student in the early 1980s began with an investigation of deep-sea fish ecology, sampling three dominant species of the midwater fish genus Cyclothone at a fixed station in Sagami Bay, central Japan.  Apparently this invaluable experience at sea has formed the basis as a field biologist. 

During this investigation, I found that the three Cyclothone species are segregated by depths, with each of them having unique life-history traits corresponding to their habitats (Miya & Nemoto 1991). Soon I realized that comparisons of their life-history traits require a robust framework of evolutionary relationships and that was the onset of my phylogenetic pursuits (Miya & Nishida 1996, 1997). 

Subsequently I have developed a novel method for determining whole mitogenome sequences using a long PCR technique (Miya & Nishida 1999) and the "mitogenomics era" was born (Broughton 2010). Since 1999, my research group has assembled >1,000 whole mitogenome sequences from various fish groups, publishing >120 papers on phylogeny and evolution of fishes.  These papers have been cited >5,600 times, having greatly changed previous concepts of fish phylogenies at various taxonomic levels.

Those contributions include earlier demonstrations of major patterns of higher-level relationships of higher teleosts (Miya et al. 2001, 2003), basal actinopterygians (Inoue et al. 2003), ostariophysans (Saitoh et al. 2003), and basal euteleosts (Ishiguro et al. 2003). Subsequently I joined a Cypriniformes Tree of Life (CToL) project initiated by Dr. Rick Mayden and published a first higher-level relationships of cypriniforms based on 59 whole mitogenome sequences (Saitoh et al. 2006). 

More recently we have published a number of papers with greater public interests, representatives including "three deep-sea fish families into one" (Johnson et al. 2009), "deep-ocean origin of freshwater eels" (Inoue et al. 2010), and "discovery of the living fossil eel from Palau" (Johnson et al. 2012). Although I am not an elasmobranch biologist, my discoveries of rare sharks such as a megamouth (Miya et al. 1992) and goblinsharks in Tokyo Subarine Canyon (Yano et al. 2007) have attracted world media and a special TV program featuring the latter shark has been on air in Japan and oversea countries. 

The above photo was taken in a hillside of the old city of Avignon, southern France,  overlooking the famous bridge, Pont Saint-Bénezet, during a winter vacation in 2008.

• Dr. SADO, Tetsuya (Research Associate)

After completing his Ph.D. thesis on the larval development of fishes at Mie University, Dr. Sado joined my lab for supporting a Cypriniformes Tree of Life project as a specialist of  this fish group in April 2005. Since then he has learned a lot about molecular biology and non-cypriniform fishes, becoming a great "mitogenomer" in my lab. He is a real enthusiast about fish keeping and has a great talent for controlling their reproduction in his aquaria. He has participated in many fish collecting trips to East Asia and his great  knowledge on the cypriniform taxonomy is highly appreciated among specialists worldwide.  The photo was taken during a collecting trip to Kolkata, India, in April 2006.

• Mr. FUKUCHI, Takehiko (Collection Manager)

Mr. Fukuchi had long been working as the head of a private company in Moscow, Russia; however, he decided to enjoy an early retirement in his home country after the long absence. As he was one of my alumni of the undergraduate school of Department of Oceanography, Tokai University, he sought to have an opportunity to work with fishes at the museum. He joined my lab in September 2011, having learned the collection building and management from Dr. Sado. He is currently maintaining our fish collection, actively working with the specimens as a voluntary basis. As you can see the photo at righthand, he loves bait fishing and eating his fresh catches as "sashimi" or "sushi" that have never been available in Moscow.