10/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/06/2021 18:46
Otsuki：Ever since I was a kid I've been fond of living creatures, and I was always interested in bugs, dinosaurs, reptiles. When I was deciding which high school to go to, I visited the biology club during the Kusonoki Festival open day at Kawagoe High School, and it made me want to study there.
Sato：In Kawagoe High School's biology club, each person is responsible for taking care of different creatures. Yuya wanted to study the pit viper first, didn't you? A specialist teacher warned him not to, because they're dangerous. But when I told him about tardigrades, he was really interested.
Otsuki：When Mr. Sato told me about tardigrades, I thought they sounded interesting. Tardigrades are creatures that live in water. There are also some species of tardigrade that live on land, most of which can tolerate extremely dryness, and which can enter a state of suspended animation called anhydrobiosis in places where there's no water. Spraying water on a tardigrade that's in anhydrobiosis will make it active again. This way of living in which they go back and forth between being alive and not being alive really interested me.
Tardigrades can be caught in places all around us; for example, in dry moss that can be found at school. If you immerse dry moss in water and view the water through a stereoscopic microscope, you sometimes find tardigrades.
Sato：Out of this interest in tardigrades, Yuya contacted Professor Daiki Horikawa, who was conducting research on tardigrades at Keio University, and Professor Horikawa gave him a tardigrade to study. A partnership between the high school and Keio university also meant that he was able to consult and become acquainted with Dr. Atsushi Suzuki, a leading expert in tardigrade research, and tardigrade genome analysis specialist Professor Kazuharu Arakawa, which laid the foundation for the school's tardigrade research. Yuya's enthusiasm to learn more about tardigrades was a major step toward his successful imaging of the horned tardigrade using the electron microscope.