Welcome to the Laboratory of Geomicrobial Ecology Web page!
Amazingly numerous number of prokaryotes distribute all over the habitats of the Earth and they carry out crucial function in shaping of Earth’s environments. We do not find any ecosystem which doesn’t include prokaryotes as key players. Ecosystem was made as a microbial ecosystem in the ancient Earth of roughly more than 3 billion years ago under the anoxic condition of high temperature. Thus we go to hot springs to get sample for evolutionary study of microbial ecology (Prof. Kato loves bathing at natural spa. This is another reason for going there.). We also go down to deep subsurface to take sample as a very large proportion of prokaryotes exist there and exert unique function actively in dark and anaerobic condition. Or, the wonderful groundwater of Mt. Fuji contains a very limited number of prokaryotes. What are they doing and how? We found an important function to minimize nitrate is carried out nicely through denitrification in the wet part of soil made at the bottom of watershed in forest system.
Marine no doubt gives us unsolved exciting questions about microbial ecology in particular for archaea.
Our major research fields extend to;
Mt. Fuji subsurface,
Deep subsurface in Hokkaido, Horonobe area,
Forest soil and groundwater in Kiryuu, Shiga Prefecture and Tomakomai Research Forest System in Hokkaido,
Focusing on microbial denitrification with its environmental constraints and their specific function as denitirification and Methanogenesis in a greenhouse impact on marine microbes.
To understand ecology of Bacteria and Archaea, we need to chase their population dynamics and to know the impact of grazing and viral infection. Molecular techniques as FISH, Card-FISH and functional gene sequences are the basic techniques in our study together with fundamental SSrRNA gene analysis of community diversity. Stable isotope is another essential and very exciting tool to measure activity and to estimate microbial contribution of chemical products. Thus, we collaborate with a few very active laboratories.
Prof. Emeritus Kenji Kato
836 Oya, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka,