Kitasato University School of Marine Biosciences

Kitasato University School of Marine Biosciences

The Kitasato Institute

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In the Department of Marine Biosciences, specialized study in the fields of Aquaculture Science, Marine Ecobiology and Applied Marine Biological Chemistry are carried out at 12 laboratories. A wide range of studies on aquatic organisms are done, and the results are returned to education.

In the 4thgrade, students gain special expertise through graduate studies carried out in these laboratories.


Laboratory of Reproductive Physiology of Aquatic Organisms

Associate Professor Hiroaki Chiba
Associate Professor Tatsuki Yoshinaga


This laboratory seeks to promote the conservation and reproduction of the Japanese eel, or unagi, through our efforts to identify their reproductive mechanism.

The Japanese eel, commonly eaten grilled as “kabayaki” in Japan, are sharply declining. In response, our laboratory seeks to establish the sustainable use of the eel resources, through our efforts to determine their sex-determination mechanism and research on their reproduction in the open ocean.

Laboratory of Fish Endocrinology

Professor Akiyoshi Takahashi
Associate Professor Kanta Mizusawa


This laboratory seeks to develop new fish farming technologies by investigating the relationship between light and hormones.

The light environment changes the color, appetite, adaptability to seawater and other features of the fish. In our laboratory we aim to identify the function of hormones involved in these changes, and develop new efficient fish farming technologies.


Laboratory of Fish Physiology

Professor Masafumi Amano
Junior Associate Professor Noriko Amiya


Hormones, one of the physiologically active substances, are believed to regulate gonadal maturation and somatic growth in fish. In our laboratory, we are studying the profiles of these hormones using commercially important fish species.

Laboratory of Fish Pathology

Associate Professor Osamu Nakamura
Associate Professor Shigeyuki Tsutsui


We seek to identify the structure and function of defensive substances against infectious organisms in fish and aquatic invertebrates.
Aquatic animals possess defensive substances against infectious bacteria, viruses and parasites. Our laboratory seeks to contribute to the prevention of infectious diseases that occur during aquaculture and propagation, by elucidating the structure and function of these substances.

Laboratory of Fish Genetics and Breeding Biology

Professor Sei-ichi Okumura
Assistant Professor Fumiya Furukawa


Abalones and sea cucumbers are valuable sea products, and are cultured throughout Japan and Asian countries. However, these animals grow very slowly and take large space since they are benthic. For fast growth and mass production of abalones and sea cucumbers, we are developing technologies such as population breeding science-based parent selection and co-culture of the animals with different trophic levels.

Another problem in aquaculture is mass mortality of early embryos and larvae. It is essential to know yolk quality and metabolic profiles of eggs and larvae to establish culturing techniques suitable for these early stages. To this end, we study zebrafish models, in addition to industrially important animals (masu salmon, abalone, etc.), to understand molecular mechanisms underlying yolk formation and metabolism of yolk nutrient during oogenesis and development, respectively.

Our ultimate goal is to integrate knowledge of genetics and physiology to overcome difficulties in aquaculture and realize more efficient culture systems.



Laboratory of Aquatic Animal Ecology

Professor Takashi Asahida
Associate Professor Ken-ichi Hayashizaki
Associate Professor Hiroshi Miyake


This laboratory searches for clues to protect the earth through the research of aquatic animals.

We aim to find clues to protect the global environment, through field research and in-lab feeding experiments of aquatic animals living in various environments, such as rivers and shallow and deep seas.


Laboratory of Coastal Marine Biology and Ecology

Associate Professor Nobuyoshi Nanba
Assistant Professor Masato Hirose


Our Laboratory seeks to achieve environmental restoration by the ecological research of marine organisms living in coastal areas.

Coastal areas are vital for human life and food production. Through our efforts to develop technologies to maintain desirable characteristics of seaweeds and to precise understand the ecology of coastal marine animals, we seek to contribute to the development of aquaculture and propagation, conservation of marine ecosystem, and environmental restoration in coastal areas.

Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology

Professor Mineo Yamaguchi
Associate Professor Atsushi Kobiyama
Junior Associate Professor Yuichiro Yamada


Approaching the vast sea from the smal­lest in­hab­it­ants of the ocean.

Microorganisms play important roles in the marine ecosystem. We have conducted a number of studies, such as harmful algal blooms, functional and genetic diversity of marine bacteria, and the role of zooplankton in marine pelagic food web.



Laboratory of Food Chemistry

Professor Nobuhiro Kan-no
Associate Professor Daisuke Ikeda
Junior Associate Professor Takehiko Yokoyama


This laboratory explores the biological substances found in marine organisms and their application to human health.

Marine organisms possess many biological substances that are not found in land animals and land plants. Our goal is to clarify the physiological functions of these substances and their functionality as human food ingredients.

Laboratory of Marine Biochemical Resources

Associate Professor Mitsuru Jimbo
Junior Associate Professor Ko Yasumoto
Junior Associate Professor Haruna Amano


There are a variety of chemical substances which are involved in environmental adaptations of aquatic organisms. Special chemical substances are involved in the coral-zooxanthellae symbiosis. Furthermore, polyamines in aquatic organisms function in CO2 fixation, which is expected to cope with global warming. In order to achieve effective utilization of marine bioresouces and further to restore the ocean environments, we seek to clarify the physiological and ecological functions of these unique chemical substances found in aquatic organisms even using genomic analysis.

Laboratory of Biological Chemistry

Professor Shigeru Sato
Associate Professor Kentaro Takada

Chemical approach to marine toxins! Contributing to the food safety.

Some marine animals, such as pufferfish, contain toxins. By identifying metabolic degradation pathways of these natural toxins, and by the development of simplified analysis methods, we seek to prevent human intoxications and reduce the economic losses caused by toxin contamination into seafood.

Laboratory of Functional Biology of Aquatic Organisms

Professor Shunsuke Moriyama


Fish growth promoting substances discovered in fish! Conservation of marine resources by shortening farming time.

Aquatic animals grow and develop due to the involvement of the physiologically active substances produced in various organs. Our research focuses on discovering ways to effectively use physiologically active substances involved in various vital phenomena, for application in aquaculture and propagation.