The Systems Behaviour Lab is part of the Animal Systematics Laboratory at Tokyo Metropolitan University. We are a multinational laboratory working on behaviour, ecology, and evolution of social organisms. Our group focuses on social behaviour, complex systems biology, socio-ecology, evolutionary ecology and biogeography, using social model systems. We use a combination of field and laboratory based empirical studies and computer models.

Dr Adam L Cronin
Associate Professor

Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate School of Science and Engineering
Tokyo Metropolitan University
1-1 Minami-Osawa, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo, 192-0397, Japan

I am interested in the evolution and ecology of social organisms, and how different social systems, and the flexibility inherent in social systems, permits organisms to respond to environmental variation and formulate adaptive responses to life-history trade-offs. To this end I use field and laboratory based studies of hymenopteran model systems (bees, wasps and ants) to examine various questions regarding individual to colony level behavioural strategies in an eco-evolutionary context.


Dr Isaac Planas-Sitja (Post-doc)

My research focuses on studying the evolution of collective behaviour and collective decision making. For this purpose, I combine experimental analyses (e.g. treatment and analysis of large individual and collective data) and theoretical approaches (stochastic and non-linear models) to study insects as a model system with wider applications to a large range of group-living organisms, including humans and the development of artificial ‘swarm’ systems. In the past, I have used the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) as a model of gregarious species to better understand the implications of animal personality variation for collective decision making and how social learning occurs in a group. In my current research I employ a spatially-explicit model to investigate the evolutionary and ecological drivers of different reproductive strategies in social species. Additionally, this theoretical work will be validated by field work to obtain empirical data using the ant Myrmecina nipponica.



Dr. Marta Quitián (Research associate)

I am interested in how environmental factors shape species interactions and hence ecosystem dynamics. Because of my concerns about how humans affect the delicate balance between species, I study the impact of human activities on ecosystem functions emerging from plant-animal interactions. For my research I obtain comprehensive data on species interactions in the field. Using ecological network analysis and trait-based approaches (i.e. functional diversity indices and functional trait space projections), I detect disruptions on ecosystem functioning. In the past, I focused on seed dispersal and investigated the impact of habitat fragmentation on mutualistic interactions among frugivorous birds and fruiting plants across an elevational gradient in a tropical mountain forest of Ecuador. My current research focuses on pollination and employs ecological network analysis to assess the impact of habitat loss and invasive species on the pollination networks of the remote Ogasawara islands in Japan.


Diyona Putri (PhD candidate)

Invasion dynamics of ants, with focus on Technomyrmex brunneus in Japan

I am interested about Biodiversity Science (Insect plant-interactions, especially with respect to ants). My previous study was about biodiversity of ants and disturbance caused by invasive ants in a forest fragment surrounded by oil palm plantations. My PhD studies are on invasive ant species. Invasive species are a global threat to biodiversity and ecosystem health. The goal my research plan in the point of view of biodiversity conservation is how behaviour of invasive species is linked to behavioural traits and/or behavioural flexibility in invasive species, how this is influenced by habitat, and how invasion impacts native species. I am at present studying the invasive species Technomymrex brunneus in Japan, and hope to infer the biogeographic history of the invasion to identify invasion routes and help manage future invasions.


Ha Nguyen (PhD candidate)

Social immunity in facultatively social bees

 I am keen on the organization in social insects, and the origins and elaboration of social behaviour.

Bees cover a wide range of living organizational forms, from solitary to obligately social. There are some species have the ability to transit from solitary to group living and vice versa (facultatively social species). This is one of the most exciting aspects of social evolution in bees, and it is the ideal model to test scientific hypotheses. Currently, I am studying about evolutionary ecology of social immunity, and using bee as a research model to make a comparisons between social species including individual immunity and social immunity, in social and solitary colonies to explore adaptive changes in these mechanisms.



Maki Morooka (B4)

Collective behaviour



Midori Yamamura (B4)





Lab Alumni

Masako Yamada (Masters)

Yuki Matsuo (Masters)

Kazutaka Shoji (Masters)

Masanori Yokozawa (B4)

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