OIST Welcomes His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino
On Monday 14th November, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) was honored to welcome His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino for the opening ceremony of the Joint Meeting of the 22nd International Congress of Zoology and the 87th meeting of the Zoological Society of Japan.
Professor Evan Economo, the head of OIST’s Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit, welcomed His Imperial Highness to his unit, where he explained his research and exhibited a sample of the 40,000 ant specimens. Having studied zoology himself, His Imperial Highness discussed with Professor Economo the current status of global biodiversity conservation, the lab's research on ant biodiversity and evolution, and the threats of invasive ant species to Okinawa.
“We were greatly honored to have His Imperial Highness visit our lab and discuss our research” said Professor Economo. “Since he is an expert scientist in our field, he immediately understood our research projects and asked deep and thoughtful questions about our findings.”
Later in the afternoon, His Imperial Highness delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the joint zoological conference which had 1,100 participants from 31 countries and regions. The International Congress of Zoology meet every four years, with this being the first year to take place in Japan.
Dr. Robert Baughman, Executive Vice President of OIST commented in his welcome remarks: “OIST is committed to promoting multidisciplinary research including the core areas in zoology. We look forward to lively and stimulating discussions at this meeting that will lead to important discoveries in zoological science in the 21st century.”
This marked the start of the week-long zoology conference in Okinawa, the first three days of which were held at OIST. Scientists from around the world came together to discuss the latest research in zoology including animal evolution, genetics and ecology.