Prof. Lauren Sallan, Assistant Professor
Email: lauren.sallan at oist.jp
Dr. Tai Kubo, Staff Scientist
Email: tai.kubo at oist.jp
I am a vertebrate paleontologist and an evolutionary biologist. I excavated fossils, described some Mesozoic reptiles, and reconstructed the ecology of extinct tetrapods, mainly their diet and locomotion. I also investigated how the evolution of diet, locomotion, and body size occurred along with phylogenetic trees of dinosaurs and mammals. Here at OIST, I will work on basal tetrapods that invaded land. I will analyze micro-scale scars on their tooth surface that were generated during feeding and infer their diet through comparisons with modern analogs.
Dr. Isaac Trindade Santos, Post-doc
Email: isaac.trindadesantos at oist.jp
I am a fish and fisheries biologist, I completed a master`s degree in ecology and conservation (both at the Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Brazil) and a PhD in biology at the University of St Andrews, Scotland (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4478-8103). My main interests are: community ecology, macroecology, and measuring how multiple biodiversity facets change in space and time. My research traverses ecological, evolutionary, and conservation perspectives, for example by simulating the effect of an environmental havoc, known as the “Mariana dam disaster”, on beta-diversity (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pecon.2018.09.002), measuring the effect of marine fisheries on global taxonomic and functional diversity (https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.0889), or mapping the global functional rarity of marine fish (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-28488-1). Here at OIST, I aim to answer two main key ecological and evolutionary questions by using the most updated phylogenetic tree of fishes (Fish Tree of Life), along with functional traits from FishBase and species distributions from AquaMaps. First, I am going to investigate if there is a significant difference between the functional traits of the “fish living fossil” depauperate lineages and those of their diverse close relatives. Second, I would like to shed light on the global biogeography of the phylogenetically distinctive species (or phylogenetically rare species) and test the influence of environmental and ecological factors on global fish biodiversity.
Samuel Fisher, Research Intern
Email: samuel.fisher at oist.jp
I am originally a conservation biologist from California, where I recently completed my undergraduate schooling in both biology and archeology, at La Sierra University. While I do have a background in archeology my research experience has been mainly restricted to biology. I have mainly worked on understanding life history traits of native and invasive reptile species and their parasites, in the USA and other countries. While I have enjoyed this work, I have decided to switch research paths and focus on working on fossil chondrichthyans. My research interests entail looking at fossil sharks responses to climate change, extinction, and speciation.
Diala Edde, Research Intern
Email: diala.edde at oist.jp
I have completed my master's degree in Biology at the American University of Beirut. My main focuses are on ichthyology and molecular phylogenetics. For my thesis, I sequenced and analyzed the barcoding gene (Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I) of the species complex Sargocentron rubrum, commonly known as the Redcoat. I am also interested in several other fields, such as evolution and fish ecology, and I am excited to learn new research techniques in this internship.
Peter Reynolds, Research Intern
Email: peter.reynolds at oist.jp
I completed my Undergraduate and Masters of Biological Sciences at Cardiff University in the UK, where I completed my thesis on the conservation genetics of the illegally captured and trafficked Malagasy Ploughshare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora), identifying population structure in the species and assigning poached and confiscated animals to a population of origin. I have also done work in Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) conservation and autopsy at the Otter Project UK and molecular genomics. I am currently working on durophagy of benthic organisms during the Mesozoic Marine Revolution. I also enjoy hiking, climbing and snorkeling around Okinawa’s amazing reefs.
Johannes Nicolaus Wibisana, Rotation Student
Email: johannes.nicolaus at oist.jp
I am both an experimental and computational biologist, where I used to work on transcriptional regulation and signal transduction in immune cells. However, my childhood dream was too become a paleontologist, which is how I found my way to this unit. Here, I am writing on dental microwear analysis on fish to shed a light on changes in diet during the fish-tetrapod transition. In my free time, I dive, fish, keep carnivorous plants, make web applications, make 3D models and print them, among other stuff.
Nanako Okabe, Rotation Student
Email: nanako.okabe at oist.jp
At university I worked on the wounding mechanisms of giant unicellular green algae. However, the unique appearance and diversity of the jawless fish that inhabited the Silurian to Devonian periods attracted me, then I am studying as a lab rotation student in this unit. How did the jawless fish that established kingdoms at that time feed? Did they compete with jawed fish? How did feeding traits influence the evolution of fish? I am excited by the possibilities in this field, including research using big data acquired from fossils and 3D models. I used to live on another small island in Japan so I love life in Okinawa. On weekends, I enjoy skin diving, watching baseball games and exploring izakaya!
Makiko Ajimura, Research Unit Administrator(RUA)
Email: makiko.ajimura at oist.jp
I am originally from Osaka. My duties are to provide administrative support to unit members to work smoothly for their research. I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to work closely with marine science as an RUA and contribute to developing the Okinawan economy as a part of the OIST community. I love diving, traveling, the ocean, and of course, Okinawa! I especially love to watch the school of fish, then stealthily join them. My other favorites are cats, plants, and collecting the straw baskets.