Course of Forest Conservation, Division of Biosphere Science, Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University

Conservation Biology Research

Wildlife ecology: the basic science for conservation

Our group studies ecology and conservation of wildlife. Main study subjects are vertebrate animals such as mammals including deer, fox, raccoon dog, raccoon, monkey, vole and bat, and amphibians including salamander, toad and frog. Through field work and experimental study, we investigate
(1) role of wildlife in forest ecosystem,
(2) adaptive meaning and evolution of animal behavior and life history,
(3) impacts of natural and artificial environmental changes on animal behavior and population,
(4) population genetics of wildlife at large spatial scales,
(5) intra- and inter-specific interactions,
and (6) population and community dynamics.

Study organisms

Animals including amphibians, birds and mammals are our main subjects.

Clockwise from top left, Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) , Mixed colony of Eastern Bent-winged Bat (Miniopterus fuliginosus) and Japanese Large-footed Bat (Myotis macrodactylus), Large Japanese field mouse (Apodemus speciosus), Eurasian badger (Meles meles).

Clockwise from top left, Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) , Mixed colony of Eastern Bent-winged Bat (Miniopterus fuliginosus) and Japanese Large-footed Bat (Myotis macrodactylus), Large Japanese field mouse (Apodemus speciosus), Eurasian badger (Meles meles).

Animal survey using infrared camera

Using automotive infrared camera, we investigate distribution and behavior of mammals. Brown bears captured in Tomakomai Experimental Forest can be seen with the following video clips.


Brown bear cub (Ursus arctos)


Brown bear dam (Ursus arctos)

Field experiment

Our group conduct several field experimental projects.

Field experiment using enclosures to investigate ecological interaction among aquatic creature Field experiment using enclosures to investigate ecological interaction among aquatic creature.

Example of study theme

As one of our researches, adaptive strategies in behavior and life history of animals are studied. For example, Rana pirica frog tadpoles plastically develop their body in the presence of predatory salamander larvae (Hynobius retardatus) to prevent them from being swallowed by the predator. We explore evolutionary processes and ecological consequences of the defensive strategy. Rana pirica tadpoles with non-defensive “typical” morph and with defensive “bulgy” morph can be seen with the following video clips.


Rana pirica tadpoles in a pond without predatory salamander larvae. Tadpoles have typical non-defensive morph.


Rana pirica tadpoles in a pond with predatory salamander larvae. Tadpoles have defensive “bulgy” morph.

Staff