OIST Members

Dr. Marleen Klann, Staff Scientist
Email: marleen.klann at

My primary research interest is the development and evolution of animals, especially the nervous system. After graduating from Humboldt University of Berlin, I received my doctoral degree from Queen Mary, University of London. I enjoy having worked with different animals (insects, crustaceans, and annelids) and am looking forward to work on clown fish here at OIST. Personally, I like diving and underwater photography as well as knitting and nudibranchs are my favorites.

Dr. Ken Maeda, Staff Scientist
Email: ken.maeda at

I have studied life history of freshwater and estuarine goby. Goby is a highly diverse fish taxon and their life history is also very diverse. The fish I hold in the photograph is one of the biggest goby species in Okinawa, and the smallest species matures at 1 cm. Most of these species migrate between streams and the sea and could be transported to other streams and/or islands during the marine pelagic larval phase. Such “migration” and “larval dispersal” are foci of my research. I am working at OIST with gobies from 2008, but the goby work is endless. I hope to dig into their life history strategies more at this unit. (Researchmap: LINK)

Dr. Manon Mercader, Post-doc
Email: manon.mercader at

I am a marine conservation ecologist interested in the importance of young developmental stages (larvae and juveniles) in fish population maintenance. My postdotorate at OIST will aim at understanding the relationship between pigmentation, a striking aspect of metamorphosis and highly plastic trait in fish, and environmental factors. I love the ocean and spending my time in water, which makes my work a real passion. I also enjoy travelling, good food, yoga and all outdoor activities.

Dr. Marcela Herrera Sarrias, Post-doc
Email: marcela.herrera at

I grew up in Costa Rica, where I soon fell in love with tropical rainforests and coral reefs. After completing my undergraduate studies in biology, I went to Saudi Arabia to pursue a masters and PhD degree in marine molecular ecology. Now, for my postdoc at OIST I will investigate the role of hormones in local adaptation of reef fish in French Polynesia. Although I love spending my time in the water, I have also come to enjoy being in the lab and working with data. I like travelling and trying new foods, I can’t wait to explore Okinawa!

Dr. Kina Hayashi, Research Fellow
Email: kina.hayashi at

I have studied the ecology of anemone fish (population dynamics, community structure, coexistence mechanisms etc.) in the Ryukyu Islands. Currently, I would like to reveal the relationship between the territorial (aggressive) behavior of anemonefish and the color pattern of coral fish. Also, I am interested in species recognition of anemonefish.

Dr. Saori Miura, Lab Manager
Email: saori_m at

I majored in Marine and Environmental Science and completed my PhD at the University of the Ryukyus. I was fascinated by the cute appearance of anemonefish and interested in the diversity of life history strategies of anemonefish. Starting with my love for anemonefish, I was fortunate to pursue physiological research on anemonefish Amphiprion clarkii for six years. And then, most of all, I would be more than happy because I can be involved in research on clownfish as a Lab manager at this unit. Personally, I love the sea, and good food from around the world. I also enjoy cooking, camping, and traveling.

Lilian Carlu, Husbandry technician
Email: lilian.carlu at

I obtained my first diploma in nature protection and conservation. I worked a lot on ecosystems and animals biology and ecology. After I did a bachelor specialized in aquaculture and aquariology. For me fish are really interesting to study and there is a lot to learn about them. That’s why today I’m working in OIST on clownfish as technician, Clownfish husbandry. I like diving, fish biology and ecology so I can stay all of a day in front of a fish to observe it.

Hiroki Takamiyagi, Marine Biology Technician
Email: hiroki.takamiyagi at

I am a marine biology technician and my main duty is to support our projects involved with fieldwork at the ocean. Born and raised in Okinawa, I am very grateful to be involved with these projects challenging to the mystery of life in this local water. I believe that the outcomes will also contribute to the understanding and conservation of Okinawan unique reef ecosystem, which is precious resource for all of us living in this islands. After graduating from the University of Hawaii with marine biology major, I had been working in seafood industry particularly with tuna for the longest time. My favorite pastimes are surfing, traditional Karate, and reading. 

Mathieu Reynaud, Special Research Student
Email: mathieu.reynaud at

After graduated from EPHE-PSL Paris University, I started my PhD at OIST in collaboration with EPHE University. My research interests are the environmental and anthropic perturbations on the young developmental stages of life in fish. Ocean is my first love, during my study I discovered research and coral reef ecosystems. Now it doesn’t leave me anymore. I enjoy hiking, photography and diving, my next goal is to fixe an old sailboat and set sail!

Yuki Tara, Ph.D. Student
Email: yuki.tara at

I am happy that I can be a first rotation student in Marine Eco-Evo-Devo Unit. I am from Okinawa, and of course, I like beautiful sea and clownfish!
My background is pharmacology and I researched about anti-diabetic effect of natural product on pancreatic β cells in my undergraduate days. This is my first time to study about marine science, so I would like to learn a lot during this rotation.

Rio Kashimoto, Ph.D. Student
Email: rio.kashimoto2 at

My name is Rio Kashimoto and I am a PhD student in Marine Eco-Evo-Devo unit – Pf. Vincent Laudet. During my PhD, I will study genetic perspectives for clown fish hosting giant sea anemone live in Okinawa. I have investigated the occurrence of duplication of fluorescent protein gene in 18 species of coral genomes in Marine Genomics unit- Pf. Satoh (Co-supervisor). From an early age, I hoped to have a career in (Zoological & Medical) science and evolution. In 2019, I graduated from my master’s degree at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, majoring in Oncology. I am especially interested in understanding and applying genomic novelties that explain the evolutionary success of symbiotic organisms, an important theme behind my PhD theses.

Agneesh Barua, Ph.D. Student
Email: agneesh.barua at

I am a 5th year PhD that transferred to the Laudet Unit in November 2020. Although most of my work has been on snake venom evolution, in the Laudet unit I will use comparative genomics and transcriptomics to understand the evolutionary origins of pigmentation in fish. This shift is exciting because I can apply the skills I've developed during most of my PhD on a new study system. I am also hoping to make a move to evo-devo and study metamorphosis in fish. Looking forward to a most fruitful and inspiring time in my new home as a researcher .

Polina Pilieva, Research Intern
Email: polina.pilieva at

My home town in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Since my childhood I was interested in nature protection and that motivated me to study in Geo-ecology at Russian Hidrometeorological University in Saint-Petersburg. Since then I worked as cadaster ingenear and ecologist. Besides that large part of my life was connected with water, as a was a professional swimmer and sports-trainer.
My internship at Oist will aim at understanding the metamorphosis of salmonids different species and from different places from Kamchatka (Russia). Thus, I fill myself very comfortable at the Okinawa.
In additional my internship at Eco-Evo-Devo Unit I"m learning Japanese and try to improve my English language.When I have free time I fond of snorkeling, hiking and play the piano.

Yoko Fujitomi, Research Unit Administrator
Email: yoko.fujitomi at

I am originally from mainland Japan, and have been soaking in the Okinawan sun for over 17 years.
My job is to provide administrative support to enable the unit to function smoothly and effectively.
I love yummy food from all over the world, the sea and of course Nemo!

Makiko Ajimura, Research Unit Administrator
Email: makiko.ajimura at

I grew up in Osaka, have been Okinawa for 3.5years, joined in Marine Eco-Evo-Devo Unit in July 2021. My duties are to provide administrative support to unit members to work smoothly for their research. I love travel around the world, also love the sea, scuba diving and freediving. Especially love to watch the school of fish, then stealthily join them. I am overjoyed to have the opportunity, to work close to marine scientists as a research unit administrator, to contribute to preserve Okinawa nature and to the development of Okinawan economy as a part of the OIST community. My other favorites are cats, plants and collecting the straw baskets.


Minato Miyake, Rotation Student
Email: minato.miyake2 at

Previously, I studied the left-right asymmetric development of flatfish at the Marine Genetics Lab in Tohoku University, . My current lab rotation project at the Unit utilizes electron microscopy to study the ultrastructure of clownfish skin, aiming to understand the variation of pigment cells and their contribution to skin colors. I am also interested in marine invertebrates and the evolution and development of nervous systems.

Ayşe Haruka Oshima Açıkbaş, Rotation Student
Email: ayseharuka.oshima at

I'm Ayse! I have a bachelor in Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar and am currently in the process of learning and applying Bioinformatics skills and knowledge for my first rotation in this unit. My scientific interests are eco-evo-devo, genomics + transcriptomics, population genetics and epigenetics.
I like to play the piano, doodle, watch birds and their adorable, agitated ways, and spend a lot of time reconciling things in life like a typical human.

Academia Sinica Members

Fiona Lee, Lab Manager
Email: fiona at

I’m very optimistic about life, enjoy traveling, watching movies, reading, singing, writing calligraphy, hiking and also exploring new places and meeting new people.I am a research assistant at Marine Station in Academia Sinica of Taiwan and my research interests are extensive. Although I am a novice in this field working on clownfish, I am looking forward to it. It’s great to be a member of the group.

Sky Wu, Research Assistant
Email: as0210476 at

I am a research assistant at Marine Research Station in Academia Sinica. I have studied in reef larval fish culture and breeding corals. I’m interested in marine animal since I was a child so I’m really happy to join Marine Eco-Evo-Devo unit! I’m really enjoy scuba, freediving and underwater photography in free time.