Environmental Life Science  

NAKASHIZUKA, TOHRU Professor and Program Leader toron'at'm.tohoku.ac.jp


We conduct a wide range of fundamental research on the forest ecosystem, from biodiversity through sustainable management. Topics include forest dynamics, natural & human disturbance, canopy ecology in tropical forest, plant-animal interaction, human-nature interaction, forest utilization and biodiversity. Field studies are conducted both in international and domestic research sites and explore both the basic and applied aspects of forest ecology.


KAWATA, MASAKADO Professor and Program Sub-Leader kawata'at'm.tohoku.ac.jp


We research theoretical and empirical problems associated with ecosystem robustness. Our research includes the evolutionary response of ecosystems to environmental change, evolution of species range and distribution, evolutionary robustness of communities, and ecosystems in response to various factors such as infectious disease, global climate change and human-induced environmental change.

URABE, JOTARO Professor  urabe'at'm.tohoku.ac.jp  

We conduct a variety of laboratory and field studies to understand how local, regional and global environmental changes alter lake and stream ecosystems. Our research includes ecological stoichiometry of aquatic organisms, effects of warming and rising CO2 on biological interactions, mechanisms regulating the food web and functional roles of biodiversity in biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem stability.

HIKOSAKA, KOUKI Professor  hikosaka'at'm.tohoku.ac.jp  

We study plant response to environmental change: analyzing the impact of warming and atmospheric CO2 increase on photosynthesis, plus growth and reproduction on various spatial and temporal scales. We conduct research on the evolution of plants inhabiting CO2 spring ecosystems, where they have been exposed to high CO2 concentrations on an evolutionary time scale.

CHIBA, SATOSHI Associate Professor  schiba'at'biology.tohoku.ac.jp  

We examine how various organisms exhibit evolutionary response, community-level response and interactions between organisms to direct or indirect human activity. Using the archipelago as a model we also analyze evolutionary processes, invasive species, the response of native species to invasion, and mitigation and ecosystem protection against radical environmental change.

TSUDA, MASATAKA Professor  mtsuda'at'ige.tohoku.ac.jp  

Our goal is to understand the behavior and evolution of environmental bacteria from the standpoints of molecular genetics, molecular biology, structural and functional genomics and molecular ecology. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding bacteria able to degrade environmental pollutants.

TAKAHASHI, HIDEYUKI  Professor  hideyuki'at'ige.tohoku.ac.jp  

We look at the way in which sessile land plants avoid stress and adapt to their surroundings in response to various environmental cues. For example, plants adjust their morphology and growth orientation in response to light, temperature, water, gravity, and mechanical stimuli, all of which helps them to obtain light energy and water for survival. Our research aims at elucidating the molecular and genetic bases of these adjustments.

  Developmental Biology and Neuroscience  
MUTA, TATSUSHI Professor  tmuta'at'biology.tohoku.ac.jp  

To understand ecological adaptability and robustness, it is necessary to understand host defense mechanisms against pathogenic microorganisms. We investigate the activation mechanisms and physiological functions of innate immunity present in all multicellular organisms from plants through mammals. Using human and mouse cells and genetically engineered mice we are currently analyzing the innate immune system with a variety of techniques including: biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, and developmental engineering.

TAMURA, KOJI  Professor  tam'at'biology.tohoku.ac.jp  

Adaptation and response to environmental change differ between species. We research the morphology of vertebrates in order to understand their flexibility and robustness as the basis of adaptivity. We use development/regeneration of tissues and organs in vertebrates as an experimental model to assess morphogenetic ability.

  Pharmaceutical Science  
KURATA, SHOICHIRO Professor  kurata'at'mail.pharm.tohoku.ac.jp  

We analyze the molecular mechanisms of “development and regeneration” and “innate immunity” to better understand how organisms adapt to environmental change. These studies utilize Drosophila as the model organism. We are also developing compounds that act on insect immunity to control vector-born diseases such as malaria and sleeping sickness, the transmission of which has expanded due to climate changes.

  Agricultural Science  
KIJIMA, AKIHIRO Professor  a-kijima'at'm.tohoku.ac.jp  

We are interested in understanding the causes of change in distribution of organisms around the Sanriku coast. This represents a location in which warm and cold sea currents meet and is a north/south boundary for distribution of a number of species. We conduct research on changes in species distribution, adaptation, and the mechanism of recent climate change. We are also interested in evaluating future risk and strategies to mitigate risk.

ENDO, YOSHINARI  Professor yendo'at'bios.tohoku.ac.jp  

Global warming is likely to increase ocean stability, diminish nutrient enrichment and reduce primary productivity. Increased CO2 in the oceans renders them more acidic, making it more difficult for some plankton to build and maintain calcium carbonate shells. In addition to fundamental studies of marine plankton, we are interested in understanding the impact of such radical environmental changes on marine plankton and the physiological and ecological strategies that these organisms use to survive.

AGATSUMA, YUKIO Professor  agatsuma'at'bios.tohoku.ac.jp  

Global warming extends over the ocean and accelerates kelp deforestation in rocky subtidal communities, resulting in expansion of barren ground “Isoyake” dominated by crustose coralline red algae. Alternation from kelp forest to fucoid forest is also seen. Production of herbivorous sea urchin is reduced due to these changes, and our main area of study focuses on the systemic adaptations of primary consumer/ altered producer through species interaction.

SUYAMA, YOSHIHISA Associate Professor  suyo'at'bios.tohoku.ac.jp  

We study the molecular ecology of forest trees: in particular, their genetic diversity, biological/ecological adaptation, ecosystem function, and conservation as part of a forest ecosystem. We use a combination of molecular and ecological approaches for both domestic and international projects. In a couple of ongoing projects, we conduct large-scale field experiments using artificial wetlands and riparian forest to clarify the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function.

  Information Science  
FUKUMOTO, JUNYA Associate Professor  fukumoto'at'plan.civil.tohoku.ac.jp  

We research ecological governance, i.e. how social systems adapt to drastic changes in the ecological environment. We propose a novel mechanism that collates human ecological knowledge, coordinates the interests of different stakeholders, and tries to implement mutually beneficial eco-strategies. Our main concern is to apply ICT to ecological governance.

  Environmental Study  
FUJISAKI, NARIAKI  Professor  fujisaki'at'mail.kankyo.tohoku.ac.jp  

In order to shed light upon various aspects of water resource problems, we recently started an interdisciplinary research project focusing on a river basin in West Java, Indonesia. While the level of deterioration of the watershed ecosystem, changes in water flow and water quality degradation in the region will be assessed scientifically, several factors related to industrialization and urban development, such as access to water supply and sewerage, establishment of environment-related laws and ordinances, and provision of administrative and environmental management services, will be analyzed from a social science viewpoint.

  Civil and Environmental Engineering  
NISHIMURA, OSAMU Professor  osamura'at'eco.civil.tohoku.ac.jp  

The restoration of rivers, lakes, wetlands, tidelands and seaweed beds damaged by human activity is a critical requirement of ecosystem conservation. To restore and sustain ecological services, we research and develop technologies using constructed wetlands and tidal flatlands to remove pollutants and enhance biodiversity.

NAKANO, KAZUNORI Associate Professor  knakano'at'eco.civil.tohoku.ac.jp  

Natural environments have effective purification systems that do not require external energy for their operation and maintenance. By strengthening the natural functions of constructed wetlands water purification is effected with minimum energy input. In this program, we conduct research on the experimental wetlands established at Kawatabi Field Center to investigate water purification in connection with rhizosphere microorganic activity enhanced by hydraulic manipulation.

  Economics and Management  
HAYASHIYAMA, YASUHISA Professor  yhaya'at'econ.tohoku.ac.jp  

Our social and economic activities are subject to the laws of nature. And our economic activities cause environmental problems. We research the interactions between socio-economic activity and the natural environment. More concretely, we try to quantify the impact of environmental policy on our social and economic systems, and measure environmental services in monetary term.

  Life Science  
YOSHIMOTO, ATSUSHI Visiting Professor, The Institute of Statistical Mathematicsyoshimoa'at'ism.ac.jp  

Our research focuses on mathematical models for predicting and controlling natural and socio-economic resource change within deterministic and stochastic frameworks. Through field survey, we conduct research on sustainable forest resource management as a socio-economic system. One of our current projects concerns risk evaluation and economic analysis of sustainable forest resource management.


TAKEMOTO, NORIKO Professor by Special Appointment and Senior Business Adviser takemoto'at'm.tohoku.ac.jp


After helping set up a company in direct marketing and founding another in IT education, I became involved in a citizens’ project to fund wind generator turbines in Hokkaido and, then, more generally, with CSR and the design of goods consonant with the philosophy and practice of environmental sustainability. I now serve on a couple of committees charged with looking at ecological sustainability with regard to business, and join this Center as its business liaison adviser.


ADACHI, NAOKI, Ph.D  Adviser, CEO,Response Ability, Inc. (RAI)


Dr. Adachi is a former Research Fellow in the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), and the Forest Research Institute, Malaysia, and now runs an independent consulting firm on CSR. He provides advice on CSR and environmental management to Japan’s leading companies, specializing in corporate biodiversity conservation and supply-chain CSR management. Current commitments include serving on the secretariat of the Japan Business Initiative for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (JBIB).