The Tropical Biosphere Research Center (TBRC) is a research institute of University of the Ryukyus located in subtropical climate zone. Faculty members of TBRC are conducting biological researches on the tropical and subtropical environment. The researches are mainly focused on the mechanism of establishment and maintenance of biological diversity, the survival strategies of living organisms, and the dynamic interactions of symbiotic or infectious microbes with hosts. Applied researches on food and health in subtropical area is also carried out in TBRC. These research activities covers all four Key Words of the University of the Ryukyus: Islands, Marine, Subtropical Climate, and Health and Longevity.

TBRC has been approved to be a Joint Usage/Research Center (JURC) by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan. As the only JURC in the subtropical climate zone, TBRC provides opportunities to study subtropical organisms and ecosystems for both domestic and international researchers. TBRC has great access to resources of the insular environments of the Ryukyu Archipelago with high endemism that have been developed in humid subtropical climate under complex geographical history, which includes coral reefs and mangrove forests with high biodiversity. Sesoko and Iriomote Stations of TBRC are located right next to coral reefs and mangrove forests, respectively, and are equipped with dormitories and laboratories available for the field researchers.

Establishment of interdisciplinary research area of field research and molecular biology is another important goal of TBRC. Center of Molecular Biosciences (COMB) and Nishihara Station of TBRC in Senbaru Campus are important role in the issue. At present, genome sequencing of tropical field-derived samples becomes standard analyses in recent years. To further improve co-operation between the Stations, teleconference system is actively used to exchange information.

TBRC continues to be the center of biological researches in University of the Ryukyus, and reinforce the function as JURC.


Tropical Biosphere Research Center
The Tropical Biosphere ResearchCenter of the University of the Ryukyus was established by unifying a cooperative institute Sesoko Marine Science Center in Sesoko Island (current SesokoStation), Research Institute of TropicalAgriculture of Faculty of Agriculture inIriomote Island (current Iriomote Station)and newly established Nishihara Laboratory in Senbaru Campus (current Nishihara Station), and assigned as a Joint-use Research Institute in 1994.

Center of Molecular Biosciences
The Center of Molecular Biosciences(COMB) was established in 2001 by reorganizationof the Gene Research Center.COMB had been situated in the maincampus of the University of the Ryukyusand had been a central research institute of molecular biosciences in the university.

New Tropical Biosphere Research Center
The former Tropical Biosphere Research Center and Center of Molecular Biosciences are unified in 2009 to launch the new Tropical Biosphere Research Center.



The Tropical Biosphere Research Center of University of the Ryukyus, consisted of four institutes: Sesoko Station located in Sesoko Island, an islet off the northern part of the Main Island of Okinawa, Center of Molecular Biosciences and Nishihara Station in the main campus of the university which is located in the southern part of the Main Island of Okinawa, and Iriomote Station located in Iriomote Island, approximately 430 km southwest of the Main Island of Okinawa.


Distinctive features

The salient feature of the Tropical Biosphere Research Center (TBRC) lies in its geographic location, which permits long-term in-situ studies on a tropical biota. TBRC is, therefore, expected to play a central role in biological research of tropical and subtropical subjects in Japan. Many foreign and domestic researchers visit TBRC, and create fascinating opportunities to enjoy stimulating and constructive discussion. The geographic advantage is also beneficial to students in both education and research by providing an “in-situ lecturing” with actual organisms in their natural habitats.

TBRC was designated from 1996-2000 as a Center of Collaboration by the corresponding ministry and received additional funding for several research-supporting programs. In 2008, TBRC was combined with Center of Molecular Biosciences (COMB), and the research area has been extended to include genomics, biotechnology, bioremediation, and molecular microbiology with increase in the number of staff members. At the same time, TBRC was approved to be a Joint Usage/Research Center (JURC) by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan. Furthermore, the Foreign Scholar Invitation Program provides a good opportunity to promote international co-operative research, and the Domestic Scholar Invitation Program is helpful in expanding research activities.

Cooperative studies

Cooperative Study Program financially supports researchers who collaborate with TBRC faculty members, or those who use the field of TBRC with support of TBRC faculty members.

Joint Usage and Research Meetings

Joint Usage and Research Meetings Program financially supports symposiums and meetings on tropical and subtropical biospheres to promote future cooperative researches.


TBRC faculty members are actively engaged in lectures and mentorship of master’s or Ph.D. students for graduate schools (Engineering and Science, Agriculture and Medicine). We also offer lectures, practical courses (e.g. Marine Biology Course) and other activities for undergraduate education.


TBRC publishes Annual Reports, and information on the research activity including the Annual Reports is uploaded to the website of TBRC.


Dormitories are available at Sesoko Station and Iriomote Station. The facilities are available for visitors who participate in researches meetings and practical courses.