Plants & Animals


Frog: Occidozyga baluensis
11 Mar 2022
A study on puddle frogs suggests underestimated biodiversity in Southeast Asia.
Three of the fish species selected for this study: Aluterus scriptus (left), Siganus fuscescens (center) and Amphiprion frenatus (right). (Photos courtesy of Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan).
10 Mar 2022
Scientists have developed a model that predicts six tropical fish species will expand into northern parts of Japan as sea temperatures rise.
10 Mar 2022
Giants in History: Roseli Ocampo-Friedmann (23 November 1937 – 4 September 2005) was a Filipino-American scientist whose research focused on cyanobacteria and microorganisms that inhabit extreme environments.
09 Mar 2022
Researchers in Malaysia are using the chemistry of natural products for sustainable health and energy solutions.
Blooming flower
09 Mar 2022
Scientists from Hokkaido University and colleagues have identified a pathway that accelerates plant flowering in low-nitrogen soils — a finding that could help enhance agricultural production.
Testing liquid flow
24 Feb 2022
A surprising tree-inspired discovery is helping scientists design surfaces that encourage different liquids to move in varying directions.
24 Feb 2022
Whale and dolphin post-mortem imaging could breathe new life into marine conservation.
22 Feb 2022
Inspired by the woodpecker’s ability to strike trees with its beak rapidly and repeatedly without injury, engineers in Malaysia have used computer simulations to find ways to improve the design of composite beams used in impact-prone structures.
21 Feb 2022
Diarrhea is common in calves and causes enormous financial losses to the livestock industry worldwide. Antibiotics are often used to treat this, but it causes harmful side effects. A research group addressed this problem by exploring an alternative method. Feces from healthy donors were analysed before being transplanted into calves suffering from diarrhea in a process called fecal microbiota transplantation.
17 Feb 2022
An international team of researchers respond to criticisms on previous work that demonstrated Mirror Self-Recognition (MSR) in the cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus, by 1) successfully repeating the mark test with a larger sample size, 2) showing the MSR behaviour to be the visual result of the mark not a physical response to it, and 3) showing that MSR-trained fish do not show aggression to spatially varied mirror images of themselves. Additionally, they further demonstrate potential self-awareness in L. dimidiatus by showing that they do not demonstrate MSR behaviour when visually presented with the mark on other fish and solidify the importance of ecologically relevant marks presented in previous work by showing MSR behaviour of L. dimidiatus with brown marks, meant to resemble a main food source of the fish, as opposed to no such behaviour in fish with green or blue marks.
Head regeneration of the hemichordates, Ptychodera flava
15 Feb 2022
Better understanding of regeneration in hemichordates may eventually lead to advances in reparative medicine
Rice flower and ovule
04 Feb 2022
Rice has long been a staple food for more than half the global population. The United Nations even declared 2004 the International Year of Rice to raise awareness and encourage action to protect and advance the crop for a rapidly growing population. The genetic guidance rice uses to grow and reproduce, however, is still not fully understood. Now, a research team based in Japan is learning more, including how critical one gene is for the plant to develop grains of rice, which serve as both seeds and food.
03 Feb 2022
Giants in History: Rapee Sagarik (4 December 1922 – 17 February 2018) was Thailand’s renowned expert on orchids. Sagarik dedicated his career to the research of native orchids in Thailand.
Photo of the entire amber-encased fossil specimen of Huablattula hui, a cretaceous cockroach (Ryo Taniguchi, et al. The Science of Nature. September 28, 2021).
25 Jan 2022
Studying the sensory organs of a 100-million-year-old cockroach offers new insights into how the species may have lived.
24 Jan 2022
Researchers from Hokkaido University have proposed a framework to assist in the demarcation between genetically modified organisms and genome-edited organisms, taking into account both scientific and socio-ethical considerations.
The experimental system used in the research. Water is pumped from the main Horonai stream, through 48 artificial stream chambers, and then flows back out to the the main stream (Photo: Samuel Ross).
12 Jan 2022
Predator species may buffer the negative impacts of climate change by mitigating against the loss of biodiversity, according to new research led by scientists in Trinity College Dublin and joined by scientists at Hokkaido University
Figure 1. Mass Imaging.
06 Jan 2022
Enzymatic hydrolysis of planteose: α-Galactosidase is a promising molecular target for root parasitic weed control
17 Dec 2021
The discovery of the first millipede with more than 1,000 legs is reported in Scientific Reports this week. Prior to this, no millipede had been found with more than 750 legs.
A Batman River loach,
10 Dec 2021
The critically endangered Batman River loach is the first of Shoal and Re:wild's Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Fishes to be rediscovered
23 Nov 2021
A joint research team at the Division of Biotechnology, DGIST, confirmed that microplastics(MPs) ingested orally accumulate in the brain and act as neurotoxic substances.
A male brown bear observed in the Rusha area on the Shiretoko Peninsula, Hokkaido, in 2018. Photo taken by Yuri Shirane.
18 Nov 2021
Surveys have revealed an upward trend in the number of brown bears over the past three decades in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island. Researchers at Hokkaido University have been investigating the causes and implications of the increase.
Asia research News - Editor's Choice
05 Nov 2021
Quick seawater test may reveal health of corals, Infectious disease caused by a new nairovirus, Converting CO2 into useful compounds and Automated COVID-19 diagnosis from chest scans all in the November Editor's Choice. Plus our latest podcast: Gender and Conflict in Myanmar.
Mukawa estuary, Hokkaido, one of the 22 estuaries sampled for the study (Photo: Akihide Kasai).
04 Nov 2021
The diversity of threatened fish in estuaries increases when surrounded by forest cover, whereas estuaries surrounded by farmland show the opposite effect.
27 Oct 2021
Giants in History: Maqsudul Alam (14 December 1954 – 20 December 2014) was a biologist from Bangladesh who is renowned for his research on genome sequencing.
Some of the recorded carnivore species
20 Oct 2021
Just as humans may leave their home five minutes early to avoid a talkative neighbor or depart work late to avoid a rude coworker, carnivorous mammals may go out of their way to avoid other species. But they’re not trying to navigate awkward social interactions; rather, they are negotiating space and resources for survival.
Figure 1. Total soluble solids (TSS) (A), cell turgor (B), osmotic pressure determined by the vapor pressure method (C), vapor pressure method-based calculated water potential (D), osmotic pressure determined by the freezing point method (E) and freezing point method-based calculated water potential (F) in each tissue in the watercored apple fruit.
23 Sep 2021
Single cell analyses reveal hidden turgor-associated metabolic changes and water flow across the flesh in watercored apples
Võ Quý, a hero of the environment
20 Sep 2021
Võ Quý (31 December 1929 – 10 January 2017) was a Vietnamese ornithologist who studied the destruction of tropical forests and agricultural lands in Vietnam by Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
15 Sep 2021
Using the lamprey, researchers from Japan analyzed the photosensory mechanism of the pineal organ, also called the pineal gland, in non-mammalian vertebrates and discovered a novel mechanism of pineal color discrimination (two-cell system) in which two types of photoreceptor cells, each containing two different opsins, are used to detect color. This discovery may provide insight into the evolution of color detection in other animals, including color vision in humans.
Shouta M. M. Nakayama (yellow hoodie), Haruya Toyomaki (black polo shirt) and Yared Beyene (blue jacket), along with dogs sampled in the study and the family that owns them (Photo: Shouta M. M. Nakayama).
13 Sep 2021
Abnormally high levels of DNA methylation have been identified in dogs exposed to high levels of lead near a mining area in Kabwe, Zambia, by a team of scientists from Japan and Zambia.
Yuan Longping - father of hybrid rice
11 Sep 2021
Giants in History: Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping (7 September 1930 – 22 May 2021) developed the first varieties of the high-yield, hybrid rice that brought food security to multiple countries including China, which had been ravaged by food shortages as recently as the mid-20th century.


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Giants in history

Lim Boo Liat (21 August 1926 – 11 July 2020), a leading authority in the conservation of Malaysia’s biological diversity, had his initial interest in the outdoors piqued by nature lessons in school. Lim, who helped found the National Zoo of Malaysia and re-establish the Malaysian Nature Society, had a particular interest in researching zoonotic diseases associated with small animals.
In his over 30 year career in rice research, Munshi Siddique Ahmad (1924 – 19 October 2011) developed more than 30 varieties of high-yielding rice, including the BRRI Shail strain, which was responsible for increasing the rice production of Bangladesh from 8 million tonnes in 1965 to 20 million tonnes in 1975.
Known as Mr. Natural Rubber, chemist and researcher B. C. Shekhar (17 November 1929 – 6 September 2006) introduced a number of technical innovations that helped put Malaysia’s natural rubber industry on the world map.
Ground-breaking cancer researcher Kamal Jayasing Ranadive (8 November 1917 – 11 April 2001) advanced the understanding of the causes of leukaemia, breast cancer and oesophageal cancer through the use of animal models. She was also among the first to recognise how susceptibility to cancer is linked to tumour-causing interactions between hormones and viruses.
Birbal Sahni (14 November 1891 – 10 April 1949), a pioneer of Indian palaeobotanical research, and founder of what is now the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow, made multiple contributions to the study of prehistoric plants. These include the discovery of a new group of fossil gymnosperms (named Pentoxylae), reconstruction of the extinct Williamsonia sewardiana plant, and description of a new type of petrified wood from the Jurassic age.
The research of Filipino pharmaceutical chemist Luz Oliveros-Belardo (3 November 1906 – 12 December 1999) focussed on essential oils and other chemicals derived from native Philippine plants.
Thai physician and conservationist Boonsong Lekagul (1907 – 1992) made major contributions to the preservation of his country’s wildlife.
Lü Junchang (1965–9 October 2018) was a Chinese palaeontologist who is remembered as one of the most important dinosaur researchers of the last 50 years. Lü was an expert on reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic period about 252 million years ago. Cumulatively, Lü and his colleague/competitor Xiaolin Wang described and named more than 50 new species of flying dinosaurs known as pterosaurs.
Filipina chemist María Orosa (29 November 1892–13 February 1945) fought malnutrition and food insecurity in the Philippines by devising over 700 culinary creations including Soyalac, a nutrient rich drink made from soybeans, and Darak, rice cookies packed with Vitamin B1, which could prevent beriberi disease caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency. She was also a partisan of the guerrilla movement resisting Japanese occupation during World War II, and died after being struck by shrapnel while working in her laboratory during the Battle of Manila.
Eminent Filipina scientist and educator Clara Lim-Sylianco (18 August 1925 – 23 July 2013) is remembered for her extensive research on mutagens – often-carcinogenic agents that permanently alter genetic materials such as DNA – antimutagens and bioorganic mechanisms.
Research by Filipino plant scientist Benito Vergara (23 June 1934 – 24 October 2015) on the physiology of rice led to the development of deep-water and cold-tolerant rice varieties. Vergara also made several contributions to expanding public awareness of rice science.
Chinese palaeontologist, archaeologist and anthropologist Pei Wenzhong (January 19, 1904 – September 18, 1982) is regarded as a founder of Chinese anthropology.
Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping (7 September 1930 – 22 May 2021) developed the first varieties of the high-yield, hybrid rice that brought food security to multiple countries including China, which had been ravaged by food shortages as recently as the mid-20th century.
Little is known about Ali, a teenager from Sarawak, Malaysia, who was chief assistant to the famous naturalist Alfred Wallace. Most of what is known comes from Wallace’s writings. Ali accompanied Wallace on expeditions throughout the Malay Archipelago from December 1855 to February 1862.
The techniques that make industrial pearl culturing possible were developed over a century ago at the Misaki Marine Biological Station in Japan. The station’s first director, Professor Kakichi Mitsukuri, emphasized to Kokichi Mikimoto in 1890 that stimulating pearl sac formation was important for pearl growth, and they went on to successfully develop methods for culturing pearls.
Indian organic chemist Asima Chatterjee (1917 to 2006) studied the medicinal properties of plant products, especially compounds known as vinca alkaloids.
Motoo Kimura (13 November 1924 – 13 November 1994) was a Japanese theoretical population geneticist who is best remembered for developing the neutral theory of molecular evolution.
Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose (30 November 1858 – 23 November 1937) was a scientist and inventor who contributed to a wide range of scientific fields such as physics, botany and biology.
Rinchen Barsbold (born 21 December 1935) is a Mongolian palaeontologist and geologist who was instrumental in discovering and recovering one of the largest dinosaur collections in the world from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and China.
Osamu Shimomura (27 August 1928 – 19 October 2018) was a Japanese organic chemist and marine biologist who dedicated his career to understanding how organisms emitted light.
Woo Jang-choon (8 April 1898 – 10 August 1959) was a Korean-Japanese agricultural scientist and botanist.
Joo-myung Seok (November 13, 1908 – October 6, 1950) was a Korean butterfly entomologist who made important contributions to the taxonomy of the native butterfly species in Korea.
Janaki Ammal Edavalath Kakkat (4 November 1897 – 7 February 1984) was an Indian botanist who studied plant chromosomes and genetics.
Salimuzzaman Siddiqui (19 October 1897 – 14 April 1994) was an artist and chemist from Pakistan whose research focused on natural products from plants.
Rapee Sagarik (4 December 1922 – 17 February 2018) was Thailand’s renowned expert on orchids.
Maqsudul Alam (14 December 1954 – 20 December 2014) was a biologist from Bangladesh who is renowned for his research on genome sequencing
Susan Lim (14 February 1952 – 2 August 2014) was a Malaysian parasitologist who specialized in studying a class of flatworms, the Monogeans, which are parasites of fishes.
Kono Yasui (16 February 1880 – 24 March 1971) was a Japanese botanist who researched the genetics of poppies, corn and spiderworts and surveyed the plants that had been affected by the nuclear fallout after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Julian Arca Banzon (13 March 1908 – 13 September 1988) was a biochemist from the Philippines who was a pioneer in alternative fuel research. Banzon investigated the use of indigenous crops as sources of renewable fuels and chemicals.
Rampa Rattanarithikul is a Thai entomologist who is a leading expert on mosquitoes. Rattanarithikul began her scientific career as a technician collecting mosquito specimens for the United States Operations Mission (USOM) malaria control program. Throughout her career, she discovered 23 species and officially described 13 others.
Meemann Chang (born 17 April 1936) is a Chinese palaeontologist who studied the fossils of ancient fish to understand the evolution of life. By examining fossils, she uncovered new insights on how vertebrates, animals with a backbone, migrated from the sea and became adapted to live on land.
Michiyo Tsujimura (17 September 1888 – 1 June 1969) was a Japanese agricultural scientist and biochemist recognized for her research of green tea components.
Roseli Ocampo-Friedmann (23 November 1937 – 4 September 2005) was a Filipino-American scientist whose research focused on cyanobacteria and microorganisms that inhabit extreme environments.
Min Chueh Chang (10 October 1908 – 5 June 1991) was a Chinese-American biologist who studied fertilization in mammalian reproduction.
A Japanese surgeon, Tetsuzo Akutsu (20 August 1922 – 9 August 2007) built the first artificial heart capable of keeping an animal alive.
Gloria Lim (1930-2022) was a mycologist from Singapore who studied tropical fungi. One of the first students to attend University of Malaya when it was founded in 1949, she went on to become the first female Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Singapore.
Edgardo Dizon Gomez (7 November 1938 – 1 December 2019) was a Filipino marine biologist who recognized the need to protect marine resources, especially coral reefs, in the Philippines.
Võ Quý (1929 – 2017) was a Vietnamese ornithologist who studied the destruction of tropical forests and agricultural lands in Vietnam by Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. In addition to planning forest restoration projects, Quý rediscovered the rare eastern sarus crane, an endangered species that had vanished during the war.