Mystery of colorful gobies

Ken Maeda and Vincent Laudet from Marine Eco-Evo-Devo Unit and coauthors published a paper in the journal, Systematics and Biodiversity.

Outreach lectures for students

Summer is a good season for students to learn in a special class. Professor Vincent Laudet gave an online class to high school students in Oita in the frame of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Festa. Ken Maeda talked to local children about freshwater and marine animals at a class in Onna-OIST Children’s School of Science.

Our paper published - Pigmentation variants and mutants of anemonefish

The normal color pattern of most anemonefishes comprises 0-3 vertical white bars with a black edge on an orange-to-red body. In this paper, we explore the diversity of pigmentation patterning variations of anemonefishes in the wild as well as in pet shop mutants. These color pattern variations are not only beautiful but also provide the opportunity to analyze the underlying genetic mechanisms. Future research will help to identify what biological processes might be affected by respective mutations leading to such interesting new color patterns and why.

Highlight our very recent paper published in PNAS

The Marine Eco-Evo-Devo (MEEDU) unit in collaboration with other labs in France, Switzerland and the USA have recently published a paper PNAS showing how thyroid hormone control the rate of white bar appearance in clownfish according to the sea anemone in which they leave. This nice example of phenotypic plasticity has made the buzz in CNN, ABC News, Nature highlights or Le Figaro among others... See the links below.

Welcome! New people in our lab from May 2021

We are pleased to announce new rotation students and a technician arrived at our lab in May 2021.OIST 1st year Ph.D. student - Jann Zwahlen says, "For my rotation project, I will work with surface slicks and study if fish larvae are attracted to slickwater and if it has any effects on their metamorphosis timing." This fascinating topic will be carried out by Jann Zwahlen and postdoc Manon Mercader. As you can see from the photo image, they have actively done their fieldwork!! 

Spawning season of goby

We started samplings of amphidromous gobies in March 2021.

Since the larvae usually hatch in the evening just after getting dark, we set a plankton net in the evening to collect the drifting larvae. The larvae will drift downstream to the sea, where they grow up until they return to freshwater streams and metamorphose to juveniles. Please don’t be surprised if you see us having an evening picnic on the streamside with tuna sashimi and potato chips. We are just waiting for larvae to start drifting. Our evening picnics will continue until May 2021. 

MEEDU is getting bigger!

We are happy to welcome two new members who joined our unit from April 2021! 

Dr. Kina Hayashi (who just finished an amazing Ph.D. on anemonefish ecology under the supervision of Dr. James Rimer at Ryukyu University) as a JSPS postdoc to continue her work on the ecology of our beloved fish, and Polina Pilieva as a research intern investigating Russian salmonids. Best wishes for your forthcoming great discoveries. 

(Photo credit: Andrew Scott) 

Giant sea anemones are ready for analysis

Thanks to Nobuo Ueda, our first giant sea anemones (Entacmaea quadoricolor, Stichodactyla mertensii and Heteractis crispa) arrived.  Our technician (Lilian Carlu) is now taking good care of them to keep them healthy. We are ready to analyze the genetic background of those giant sea anemones livingin Okinawa.

(Photo credit: Vincent Laudet & Lilian Carlu) 

By Manon Mercader & Rio Kashimoto (Date: March 30th, 2021)

Manini larvae from French Polynesia

Small manini larvae (Acanthurus triostegus) freshly captured by Mathieu Reynaud in Moorea after they passed the reef crest. This species is one we are studying because it is a great ecological model.

First paper of MEEDU unit published !

In the serie “Emerging System” of the journal EvoDevo (see we published a review article that presents the potential of Anemone fish as model for Eco-Evo-Devo. Authored by Natacha Roux, Pauline Salis, She-Hua Lee, Laurence Besseau and Vincent Laudet this is a Japan-Taiwan and France collaboration !

Group Photo in MEEDU shirt❣

Front row: Vincent Laudet

Back row: (left to right) Ken Maeda, Yuki Tara, Rio Kashimoto, Saori Miura, Yoko Fujitomi

Only with members present in Japan for now. We miss our MEEDU members still remain in France!

MEEDU in Taiwan !

We are very happy to announce the opening of the marine Eco-Evo-Devo joint lab at the Marine Research Station of the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology (ICOB) of Academia Sinica in Taiwan. It is so exciting to join such a prestigious institution. We anticipate a lot of pleasure from my interactions with my colleagues at ICOB and in particular in the Marine Research Station at Yilan where my group will be located. Fiona Lee as already started very active research on clown fishes there !

First experiments !!

Yuki Tara and Saori Miura are doing the first experiments in the lab we share with Tim Ravasi’s and Svante Pääbo’s unit in Lab4 level F. After a lot of work it has started ! This is the first of many many to come…..

First fieldwork at freshwater stream

We conducted the first field trip of MEEDU to collect goby larvae at a stream on Okinawa on July 27th. The weather was good and the stream was beautiful. We found various developmental stages of a goby species at the site, and we could enjoy the environment as well.

Embryonic development of clownfish captured in video!

In the Taiwanese site of our unit at the Yilan marine station (ICOB, Academia Sinica) Fiona Lee have followed the embryonic development of our main model species the clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris. You could see 4 steps: (i) the gastrulation that corresponds to the formation of the embryonic layers and the main embryonic axis; (ii) the segmentation with the development of main body section and the elongation of the antero-posterior axis during which the somites, future vertebrae, are formed, (iii) the late stages with the formation of the organs and finally (iv) the hatching.

We have our Unit's Logo now!

Click to download:




Confined but still active !

As so many scientists around the world, many members of the MEEDU unit, still being in Europe, are confined at home. This should not be a reason not to organize (virtual) meetings and to celebrate spring together !

Our first couple of Amphiprion clarkii !

  Our first couple of Amphiprion clarkii is now present in OIST Seragaki marine station. This species of clownfish is the most common in Okinawa and exhibit a strong color polymorphism. This couple will be used to establish a colony in our future husbandry. Welcome !