The First Okazaki Biology Conference:
"The Biology of Extinction"
Yoh Iwasa (Kyusyu Univ., Japan)
Stuart Pimm (Duke Univ., USA)
Date: January 25 (Sun) - 30 (Fri), 2004
The purpose of the conference "The Biology of Extinction" was to discuss a wide range of aspects in biological sciences related to the extinction of species, and to explore the possibility of forming a new research field of basic biology centered around this theme.

On each day of the conference except for Wednesday, there were two oral sessions, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. These sessions constituted seven sets of papers with specific themes, each of which included three to five speakers. The contents of these oral sessions were as follows:

[1] Historic and prehistoric extinction.

[2] Phylogenetic approaches to extinction and the consequences of non-random species loss.

[3] Mechanisms of maintenance of production of species diversity.

[4] Populations and extinction risk. Extinction of a species started with the extinction of local populations.

[5] Mechanisms of population extinction- genetical approaches.

[6] Toward developmental biology of extinction: molecular biology of extinction enhanced by morphological specialization.

[7]Consequence of extinction.

The Wednesday morning was a time for poster presentations. In the Friday morning eight short talks were presented who were selected among 40 poster presenters, avoiding overlapping of the themes of these short talks with long talks. The quality of all of the posters and short talks were very high.

In summary, we believe that the meeting was successful one. This First OBC conference gave an opportunity for experts in different branches of biology and non-biology to meet.

The conference was about connections. There are connections between extinctions in the past and those in the future, connections between our knowledge of local populations in space and time and the general patterns of which species are most vulnerable to extinction. The hope of the conference was to bring together those who study extinctions and different spatial and temporal scales. We can provide many examples where, in doing that, the speakers had raised the possibility for new and exciting work.

After the Thursday's program, we elected Tetsukazu Yahara and Callum Roberts as two organizers of the succeeding conference. It is to be held in two years on the same topic.

Conference program
An editor, Dr. David Cyranoski, participated in the conference and wrote a short news article in the journal (Nature vol. 427 pp.477 "Extinction meeting kicks off Japan 's plans for networking" ( 5 February 2004 )).

Trends in Ecology and Evolution
The editor, Dr. Katrina A. Lythgoe, participated in the conference and commissioned several review articles from the conference, which will appear in the journal in 6 to 9 months.

The organizers, Prof. Stuart Pimm (left) and Prof. Yoh Iwasa (right).

The organizers and Prof. Motoya Katsuki, Director General of NIBB.

Forty poster presentations were given.

Eight sessions were held during 5-day conference period, which were filled with active presentations and discussions.

There was an excursion on the Wednesday afternoon to the Gamagori Natural History Museum and Toyokawa Shrine.

The conference dinner was held at the Okazaki New Grand Hotel.

Participants of the conference.