Annual summary


2019 annual summary

2019-12-19 19.58.36

2019 year-end diner

We had really productive 2019. All of my postgraduate students graduated had a 1st author paper each this year (Ruby’s paper in press)! Time always flies, and this year is already ending in a few days. So, it’s the good time to look back this year. Below, we summarize our 2019.

Northwestern Pacific paleoecology
During Circle Hong’s PhD, she obtained ostracod census data from all EPD monitoring sites. Her paper this year on Hong Kong ostracod distribution is an imopotant baseline for ostracod-based paleo reconstructions in broad Asian coasts. Several years ago, Richard Cheung visited Tongji University to obtain 1980s classic ostracod census data from East and South China Seas from Quanhong Zhao. Richard compared his new ostracod census data in the Yangtze River estuary with the1980s data. The results showed impact of damming and eutrophication on Yangtze River estuary benthic ecosystem. May Huang studied a Sea of Japan IODP site and revealed that a mid Pleistocene climatic shift known as the mid-Brunhes event affected benthic ecosystems substantially. Caren Shin added our knowledge on Cenozoic tropical diversity in the region by studying Neogene ostracods from Java.

Hong, Y., Yasuhara, M., Iwatani, H., Mamo, M., 2019 Baseline for ostracod-based northwestern Pacific and Indo-Pacific shallow-marine paleoenvironmental reconstructions: ecological modeling of species distributions. Biogeosciences: 16, 585-604. doi:10.5194/bg-16-585-2019

Cheung, R. C. W., Yasuhara, M., Iwatani, H., Wei, C. L., Dong, Y. W., 2019. Benthic community history in the Changjiang (Yangtze River) mega-delta: Damming, urbanization, and environmental control. Paleobiology: 45, 469–483. doi:10.1017/pab.2019.21

Huang, H. H. M., Yasuhara, M., Iwatani, H., Yamaguchi, T. Yamada, K., Mamo, B., 2019. Deep-sea ostracod faunal dynamics in a marginal sea: biotic response to oxygen variability and mid-Pleistocene global changes. Paleobiology: 45, 85-97. doi:10.1017/pab.2018.37

Shin, C. P., Yasuhara, M., Iwatani, H., Kase, T., Fernando, A. G. S., Hayashi, H., Kurihara, Y., Pandita, H., 2019. Neogene marine ostracod diversity and faunal composition in Java, Indonesia: Indo-Australian Archipelago biodiversity hotspot and the Pliocene diversity jump. Journal of Crustacean Biology: doi:10.1093/jcbiol/ruy110


2019-05-29 12.27.44

Moriaki with Saskia, the leader of the IceAGE project in the Crustacean Society Meeting at Chinese University of Hong Kong

IceAGE outcome

I joined a deep-sea biology cruise of the IceAGE (ICElandic marine Animals: Genetics and Ecology) project led by Saskia Brix in 2011 just after my arriving to Hong Kong. We obtained deep-sea sediment samples around Iceland that cover important North Atlantic Gateway region. The ostracod result has published by Anna Jöst this year. We appreciate Chih-Lin Wei who helped us a lot with analyses. The results showed that deep-sea diversity is controlled by both temperature and POC flux. Our beta diversity analyses showed the Greenland‐Iceland‐Faeroe Ridge is an effective barrier for deep-sea organisms. Ostracod shows standard latitudinal and depth gradients as well as temperature control of  diversity (now known both in modern distribution and fossil time series in ostracoda, that is important support of deep-sea diversity-temperature relationshiop), indicating ostracods as an useful model system of large-scale diversity studies both in macroecology (present) and paleoecology (past), given their excellent fossil records. North Atlantic Gateway region provides a text book example of deep-sea macroecology and biogeography.

Jöst, A. B., Yasuhara, M., Wei, C. L., Okahashi, H., Ostmann, A., Martínez Arbizu, P., Mamo, B., Svavarsson, J., Brix, S., 2019. North Atlantic Gateway: Test bed of deep‐sea macroecological patterns. Journal of Biogeography: 46, 2056–2066. doi:10.1111/jbi.13632


Visits & collaborations
Moriaki, Hisayo, Circle, and Skye Tian had a wonderful visit to Nanjingn (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS) and Beijing (China University of Geosciences) to start collaboration with Yaqiong Wang, Dangpeng Xi, and other people.

2019-10-15 11.05.23

A dinner in Beijing with Yaqiong Wang, Dangpeng Xi, and his students

2019-10-09 20.18.15

With Yaqiong Wang, Yanhong Pan, and their lab members, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology

2019-10-11 14.37.23

Moriaki’s seminar at China University of Geosc

2019-10-09 09.38.30

Circle, Skye, and Moriaki with our seminar poster in Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology

Yasuhara lab is starting collaboration with Sun Yat-sen University (palynology lab led by Zhuo Zheng and Vincent Kangyou Huang). Circle had three (I had two) visits to Sun Yat-sen University at Guangzhou.

2019-12-17 17.16.30

A group photo of our workshop, Sun Yat-sen University at Guangzhou

group photo-in SYSU

In the Zhuo Zheng’s office

2019-11-06 13.09.08

Moriaki with Vincent

P-SEEDS workshop @Okinawa
One of the highlights this year was our P-SEEDS (Paleobiology as the Synthetic Ecological, Evolutionary and Diversity Science) workshop in Okinawa that was great success.
Yasuhiro Kibota, University of the Ryukyus, and I organized the workshop. Circle and May joined from our lab. ~20 world leading paleontologists and ecologists in various career stages including HKU colleagues Tim Bonebrake and Ryan McKenzie, Chhaya Chaudhary joined the workshop and had fruitful discussion on various integrated areas of paleontology and ecology. We are  thrilled and will produce many collaborative works from P-SEEDS! We also had ostracod craft IPA!

2019-11-24 16.29.18

Seth, Paul, and Moriaki



2019-11-24 16.28.37

Good walk and shell hunting at a beach after the workshop

We miss several people
Hokuto Iwatani got an assistant professor position in Yamaguchi University, Japan.
Briony Mamo went back to Sydney/Macquarie.
Anna Jöst got a postdoc fellowship and moved to Hanyang University, Korea.
May Huang successfully finished her PhD. After her short postdoc in GeoZentrum Nordbayern, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, she has just come back to Hong Kong and joined Tim Bonebrake Lab as a postdoc researcher.
Rachel Chu finished her excellent FYP on cold seep ostracods and graduated.
So, our lab is now tiny but still mighty (I hope!).

2019-06-18 19.21.06

A fairwell

2019-04-11 21.36.18

Celebration of May’s successful PhD defense!

Current Member

Current member

Regarding myself
I have traveled a lot (probably too much), including my “Tiny fossils, big questions, big data” session with Aaron O’Dea, Elizabeth Sibert and Jack Williams in NAPC @UC Riverside, “Deep-sea Biodiversity: A Crustacean Perspective” symposium with Saskia Brix and Chih-Lin Wei in the  Crustacean Society Mid-Year Meeting @Chinese University of Hong Kong, keynote in the linking land and sea session by Sarah Davies, Helena Filipsson et al. in INQUA @Dublin, plenary “Deep-sea drilling perspective on paleobiology” in the 13th International Conference on Paleoceanography @Sydney, and plenary on deep-sea biodiversityin the European Ostracodologists’ Meeting @Poland. The 9th Biennial Conference of the International Biogeography Society @Malaga was fun as well. I also enjoyed bioDISCOVERY @Cornell University, World Ocean Assessment II writer meeting @UN NY, Deep Ocean Climate Connections workshop @Scripps, GO2NE @UNESCO Paris, and International symposium on coastal ecosystem change in Asia: hypoxia, eutrophication, and nutrient conditions @Ehime University. I appreciate their inviting me to these fantastic opportunities.


Moriaki’s plenary @ICP Sydney

2019-09-06 14.52.50

ICP finale

2019-01-10 23.02.47

Paco Mezquita, Moriaki, Hisayo @IBS Malaga


Deep Ocean Climate Connections workshop


Symposium @Ehime University, Japan


GO2NE 2019

2019-06-14 19.17.45

After GO2NE 2019 meeting

2019-06-27 18.57.26-1

NAPC HKU team!

2019-06-28 08.24.01 HDR

Raccoons @UC Riverside campus

2019-06-27 19.30.24

NAPC, with one of the organizers Nigel Hughes

2019-06-27 22.38.21

After NAPC, HK-Panama-UC people

2019-05-28 20.19.07

Crustacean Society Meeting dinner on Lamma Island

2019-04-04 13.36.48

A Canadian Goose @Cornell bioDISCOVERY meeting

2019-04-04 19.10.27

bioDISCOVERY 2019 meeting @Cornell

ENVS3022 Okinawa field course was fun as usual. In this year, we obtained good paleo samples and data (on the way) that are publishable. Jon Cybulski (who I co-supervise), Ali Corley from Baker Lab, Briony Mamo, Circle, Skye, and Moriaki joined from Hong Kong.

Copy of 20190304_103220

On the way to the sampling site!

Stephen Obrochta visited our lab, and also I visited him @Akita University, Japan, starting new collaboration on Great Barrier Reef origin!

2019-02-16 22.07.38

With Steve in a bar at around High Street

I obtained the 20th Biwako Prize for Ecology, and also took new responsibilities including editorial board membership of Marine Micropaleontology and associate editorship of Palaeoworld.


Biwako Prize ceremony

I continue fruitful collaboration with Hayato Tanaka and described a new species Xylocythere sarrazinae from a hydrothermal vent. Moriaki also participated a global collaboration on trait coding of hydrothermal vent organisms, and the result has published in Global Ecology and Biogeography.

Tanaka, H., Lelièvre, Y., Yasuhara, M., 2019. Xylocythere sarrazinae, a new cytherurid ostracod (Crustacea) from a hydrothermal vent field on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, northeast Pacific Ocean, and its phylogenetic position within Cytheroidea. Marine Biodiversity: 49(6), 2571–2586. doi:10.1007/s12526-019-00987-3

Chapman, A. S. A, Beaulieu, S. E., Colaço, A., Gebruk, A. V., Hilario, A., Kihara, T. C., Ramirez‐Llodra, E., Sarrazin, J., Tunnicliffe, V., Amon, D. J., Baker, M. C., Boschen‐Rose, R. E., Chen, C., Cooper, I. J., Copley, J. T., Corbari, L., Cordes, E. E., Cuvelier, D., Duperron, S., Du Preez, C., Gollner, S., Horton, T., Hourdez, S., Krylova, E. M., Linse, K., LokaBharathi, P. A., Marsh, L., Matabos, M., Mills, S. W., Mullineaux, L. S., Rapp, H. T., Reid, W. D. K., Rybakova (Goroslavskaya), E., Thomas, T. R. A., Southgate, S. J., Stöhr, S., Turner, P. J., Watanabe, H. K., Yasuhara, M., Bates, A. E., 2019. sFDvent: A global trait database for deep‐sea hydrothermal‐vent fauna. Global Ecology and Biogeography: 28, 1538–1551. doi:10.1111/geb.12975

I finally published a long-term collaborative work on centennial scale Holocene NADW dynamics, that I started when I was a postdoc at USGS.

Yasuhara, M., deMenocal, P. B., Dwyer, G. S., Cronin, T. M., Okahashi, H., Huang, H. H. M., 2019. North Atlantic intermediate water variability over the past 20,000 years. Geology: 47, 659–663. doi:10.1130/G46161.1

An popular article summarizing my works on spatio-temporal dynamics of biodiversity has also been published in a Spanish journal Métode in three languages of English, Spanish, and Catalan.

Yasuhara, M., 2019. Marine biodiversity in space and time: What tiny fossils tell. Métode: 9. doi:10.7203/metode.9.11404
(see Publications page for links)

Emanuela Di Martino visited us in 2017. We are glad to have the first collaborative paper together this year.

Di Martino, E., Taylor, P. D., Fernando, A. G. S., Kase, T., Yasuhara, M., 2019. First bryozoan fauna from the middle Miocene of Central Java, Indonesia. Alcheringa: 43, 461–478. doi:10.1080/03115518.2019.1590639

I continue taxonomic works and published two papers on North Pacific deep-sea ostracod and Eocene Madagascar ostracods, describing one new genus and 11 new species.

Yasuhara, M., Hunt, G., Okahashi, H., 2019. Quaternary deep-sea ostracods from the north-western Pacific Ocean: global biogeography and Drake-Passage, Tethyan, Central American and Arctic pathways. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology: 17 (2), 91–110. doi: 10.1080/14772019.2017.1393019

Yasuhara, M., Hong, Y., Tian, S. T., Chong, W. K., Okahashi, H., Littler, K., Cotton, L., 2019. Eocene shallow-marine ostracods from Madagascar: southern end of the Tethys? Journal of Systematic Palaeontology: 17, 705–757. doi:10.1080/14772019.2018.1453555

I also enjoyed to work with IUCN, UNESCO, DOSI for marine conservation global collaboration, outreach, and knowledge exchange, publishing two policy briefs and one book chapter.

Yasuhara, M., Rabalais, N. N., Conley, D. J., Gutiérrez, D., 2019. Palaeo-records of histories of deoxygenation and its ecosystem impact. In: Laffoley, D., Baxter, J. M. (eds), Ocean Deoxygenation: Everyone’s Problem – Causes, Impacts, Consequences and Solutions: 213–224. IUCN, Gland.

Levin, L.A., Wei, C.-L., Dunn, D.C., Amon, D., Ashford, O., Cheung, W., Colaço, A., Escobar, E., Guilloux, B., Harden-Davies, H., Drazen, J.C., Gjerde, K., Ismail, K., Jones, D., Johnson, D., Le, J., Lejzerowicz, F., Mitarai, S., Morato, T., Mulsow, S., Snelgrove, P., Sweetman, A.K., Yasuhara, M., 2019. Climate Change Considerations are Fundamental to Sustainable Management of Deep-Seabed Mining (Policy brief). Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI).

Breitburg, D., Grégoire, M., Isensee, K., Chavez, F. P., Conley, D. J., Garçon, V., Gilbert, D., Gutiérrez, D., Jacinto, G. S., Levin, L. A., Limburg, K. E., Montes, I., Naqvi, S. W. A., Oschlies, A., Pitcher, G. C., Rabalais, N. N., Roman, M. R., Rose, K. A., Seibel, B. A., Telszewski, M., Yasuhara, M., Zhang, J. [the IOC expert working group: Global Ocean Oxygen NEtwork (GO2NE)], 2018. The Ocean is losing its breath: declining oxygen in the world’s ocean and coastal waters; summary for policy makers. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO)

Outlook for 2020
Our lab members and myself have many more exciting new data and studies coming soon or in the pipeline. I am an organizing/scientific committee member of the 5th World Conference on Marine Biodiversity @Auckland New Zealand in December and the 4th Asian ostracod meeting @Mahasarakham University Thailand in November. I will also have an award lecture of the Academic Award of the Paleontological Society of Japan @University of Tokyo in February. I plan to join the World Biodiversity Forum @Davos also in February. So, there should be a lot of fun stuff. We wish 2020 to be fun and productive year for all our lab members, collaborators, and friends!