Our mission is to understand the morphological and behavioral adaptations of magpies based on scientific data. Magpies are medium-sized corvids that are known for high intelligence. Magpies are highly sedentary, show strong territoriality year- round, and are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders. These ecological features enable them to develop various interesting adaptations and behaviors.
We work mainly on two study populations; SNU (Seoul) and KAIST (Daejeon). Both sites represent semi-urban areas with low predation and abundant food.
Since 1998, 27 people earned their masters’ and doctoral degrees from their work on magpies. Thanks to the effort of all members and helpers, the research group revealed many interesting features of magpies and produced numerous publications in high-ranking journals.
We study jumping off the water surface and skating on the water surface by water striders, and jumping off the elastic substrates by grasshoppers. We study the jumping from the kinematic and biomechanical point of view, and we describe morphological adaptations to jump at macro-, micro- and nano- scales. Our study subjects have been common Korean water striders (Gerris latiabdominis, Gerris gracilicornis, Aquarius paludum) and common Korean grasshoppers (Acrida cinerea, Attractomorpha lata, Oedaleus infernalis, Shirakiacris shirakii).
We are now focusing on the previously un-studies diversity of morphological adaptations to a variety of locomotion types by insects in tropical Asia, including the world largest water striders, Gigantometra gigas and the uniquely specialized “paddling” waterstriders from the genus Ptilomera.
Our plans are to conduct a full scale comparative studies of co-evolution between nano-morphology and locomotion among a diversity of taxa of semiaquatic bugs.
The Ant Team mainly studies Camponotus japonicus, a ground-dwelling carpenter ant species commonly found in human-affected habitats of Northeastern Asia. We are working on the following topics.
C. japonicus individuals can rely on the leader-follower system when they encounter new food source. We alter the composition of the foraging group, exchange bottom substrate, or vary food quality to reveal the detailed division of labor among the foragers. We test hypotheses about how information flows between the nestmates and why they chose such organization throughout their evolutionary history.
The workers avoid spending long time on high-resistance substrates. They tend to choose faster, unhindered path to the food site. We provide an array of arenas in which differently shaped terrain patches reside. We hypothesize the optimization function of the transporters and compare the modeled path to the real trajectory they chose.
The species flourish in a wide variety of anthropogenic habitats ranging from mountain trails to urban flower beds. We construct DNA specimen collections from different regions as well as the mapped history of urbanization and land use changes. We test hypotheses about chronical and spatial association between their dispersion and local human activity.
The commonest small passerines could be perfect subjects to understand their general life history. We are now conducting studies in two parts: breed & alarm. We are traveling though the adjacent mountain, Gwanak for whole breeding season and collect samples to see the trend of clutch with probable relations to different environmental factors. Including this, we have done experiments to regular breeder of our nest box; Great titParus minor, with several types of stuffed animals and live snake to observe specialized alarming tactics. For winter season, we are focusing on the alarming of flocks of Paridae species, mostly composed of Great titP. minor, Varied titSittiparus varius, and Marsh titPoecile palustris. Not only their appearance but alarm calls and niches are also separated by inter-flock hierarchy.