Masaru Hojo

School of Science and Technology, Kwansei Gakuin UniversityAssociate Professor*Profile is at the time of the award.

2018Inamori Research GrantsBiology & Life sciences

Research topics
Effect of individual decision making mechanisms on dynamics of mutualism
"Mutualism" is the term for relationships in which different types of organisms cooperate and deliver benefits to one another. Mutualism is a common phenomenon observed throughout the ecosystem. However, because organisms can also be more adaptive if they lower their costs by reducing the provision of benefits to their counterparties in mutualism, there are potential conflicts of interest that could destabilize the symbiotic relationships across different species. Very little is known about the mechanisms that enable these conflicts to be eliminated and mutualism to be sustained. Our research team has looked at the mutualism of lycaenid butterfly larvae and ants, and discovered that the nectar the lycaenids provide to the ants does not simply deliver nutritional value, but also activates the dopamine system in the ants' brains and thereby manipulates their behavior. For this project, we are investigating the mechanism whereby the lycaenids manipulate the ants' behavior and the impact this has on their interaction, in order to shed light on mechanisms for maintaining mutuality through behavioral manipulation.

Message from recipient

The Inamori Research Grants have done a great deal to support the progress of science over many years, and it is a great honor to receive one myself. I am committed to continuing my investigation of the interaction of organisms and to the building of our storehouse of knowledge on this topic.

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Biology & Life sciences