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Okinawa Churashima RESEARCH CENTER

Research on marine organisms

Research staff profile

Masanori Nonaka

Masanori Nonaka, Ph.D.

(Vice Director)

Area of expertise Biology and Taxonomy of Octocorals
Research content Systematic studies of Japanese Precious Corals. Reproductive biology of Precious Corals in Ryukyu archipelago.


  • 1989 - Science of Oceanography in University of the Ryukyus
  • 1989 - Okinawa Expo Aquarium
  • 2002 - Ocean Exposition Commemorative Park Management Foundation (Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium)
  • 2012 - Ph.D. at University of the Ryukyus
  • 2017 - Current post at the Okinawa Churashima Research Center

Research papers, publications

  • Nonaka, M., Yamamoto, H.H., Kamiki, T., Baird A.H. (2003) Reseeding the reefs of Okinawa with the larvae of captive-bred corals. Coral Reefs. 22: 34.
  • Nonaka, M., Muzik, K., Uchida, S. (2006) Culture, study and display of precious corals. Proceedings of the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium. Japanese Coral Reef Society, Japan. 1821–1831.
  • Baird, A.H., Gilmour, J.P., Kamiki, T.M., Nonaka, M., Pratchett, M.S., Yamamoto, H.H., Yamasaki, H. (2006) Temperature tolerance of symbiotic and non-symbiotic coral larvae. Proceedings of the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium. Japanese Coral Reef Society, Japan. 38–42.
  • Kimura, T., Hasegawa, H., Igarashi, T., Inaba, M., Iwao, K., Iwase, F., Kajiwara, K., Matsumoto, T., Nakai, T., Nojima, S., Nomura, K., Nonaka, M., Oki, K., Sakai, K., Shimoike, K., Sugihara, K., Ueno, M., Ueno, S., Yamano, H., Yokochi, H., Yoshida, M. (2006) Status of coral reefs in Japan. Proceedings of the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium. Japanese Coral Reef Society, Japan. 1068–1076.
  • Yamamoto, H.H., Nonaka, M., Kamei, Y., Uchida, S. (2006) Education and conservation of coral reefs at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Proceedings of the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium. Japanese Coral Reef Society, Japan. 1713–1716.
  • Reimer, J.D., Nonaka, M., Sinniger, F., Iwase, F. (2008) Morphological and molecular characterization of a new genus and new species of parazoanthid (Anthozoa: Hexacorallia: Zoantharia) associated with Japanese red coral (Paracorallium japonicum) in southern Japan. Coral Reefs. 27: 935–949.
  • Baird, A.H., Bhagooli, R., Nonaka, M., Yakovleva, I., Yamamoto, H.H., Hidaka, M., Yamasaki, H. (2008) Environmental controls on the establishment and development of algal symbiosis in corals. Proceedings of the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 7-11 July 2008 Session number 5. 108–112.
  • Hirose, M., Yamamoto, H.H., Nonaka, M. (2008) Metamorphosis and acquisition of symbiotic algae in planula larvae and primary polyps of Acropora spp. Coral Reefs. 27: 247–254.
  • Nonaka, M., Muzik, K. (2009) Recent harvest records of commercially valuable precious corals in the Ryukyu Archipelago. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 397: 269–278.
  • Reimer, J.D., Sinniger, F., Nonaka, M., Uchida, S. (2009) Non-invasive internal morphological examination of epizoic zoanthids utilizing CT scanners. Coral Reefs. 28: 621.
  • Yakovleva, I.M., Baird, A.H., Yamamoto, H.H., Bhagooli, R., Nonaka, M., Hidaka, M. (2009) Algal symbionts increase oxidative damage and death in coral larvae at high temperatures. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 378: 105–112.
  • Nonaka, M., Muzik, K. (2010) Jewels of the deep sea: precious corals. In: Uchida, S. (Ed.), Into the unknown, researching mysterious deep-sea animals. Proceedings of an International Symposium, 23–24 Feb 2007. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Okinawa. 84–127.
  • Nonaka, M. (2012) Studies for conservation on Japanese precious corals. Doctoral Thesis of Science. Marine and Environmental Science Graduate School of Engineering and Science, University of the Ryukyus. 326 pp.
  • Nonaka, M., Muzik, K., Iwasaki, N. (2012) Descriptions of two new species and designation of three neotypes of Japanese Coralliidae collected by Kishinouye, introducing a statistical approach. Zootaxa. 3428: 1-67.
  • Nonaka, M., Nakamura, M., Tsukahara, M., Reimer J.D. (2012) Histological examination of precious corals from the Ryukyu Archipelago. Journal of Marine Biology. Vol. 2012, Article ID 519091, 14 pp.
  • Nonaka, M., Muzik, K. (2012) Remarkable early studies of Japanese precious corals. Proceedings of an International Precious Coral Forum 2012 in Kochi, 9 Mar. 2012. 46-69.
  • Nonaka, M., Muzik, K. (2012) Systematic studies of the Indo-Pacific Corallidae. Proceedings of an International Precious Coral Forum 2012 in Kochi, 9 Mar. 2012. 70-84.
  • Aguilar-Hurtado, C., Nonaka, M., Reimer, J.D. (2012) The Melithaeidae (Cnidaria: Octocorallia) of the Ryukyu Archipelago: molecular and morphological examinations. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 64 (1): 56-65.
  • Isomura, N., Baba, Y., Nagata, S., Nonaka, M., Yamamoto, H.H. (2013) The relationship between genetic similarity and reproductive success in the branching coral Acropora intermedia. Marine Biology Research. 9: 181-188. DOI:10.1080/17451000.2012.707321.
  • Rahman, M.A., Karl K., Nonaka, M., Fujimura, H., Shinjo, R., Oomori, T., Wörheide G. (2014) Characterization of the proteinaceous skeletal organic matrix from the precious coral Corallium konojoi. Proteomics 2014, 00: 1–7. DOI: 10.1002/pm ic.201300519.
  • Nonaka, M., Nakamura, M., Muzik, K. (2015) Sexual reproduction of precious corals from Japanese waters. Pacific Science 69 (1): 15-46.
  • Nonaka, M., Hiroko Takaoka, Muzik, K. (2015) The taxonomic problem of the Hawaiian pink coral, Corallium secundum. 2014 International Symposium on Pacific Precious Corals Final Report. 247-256.
  • Nonaka, M., Muzik, K. (2016) The first records of two species of precious coral (Octocorallia: Coralliidae) from the Ryukyu Archipelago. Fauna Ryukyuana 29: 15–36.
  • Reimer, J.D., Higashiji, T., Nonaka, M. (2016) First record of the genus Sphenopus (Anthozoa: Hexacorallia: Zoantharia) from Japan. Fauna Ryukyuana 29: 37–40.

Affiliated academic society

  • The Zoological Society of Japan
  • The Japanese Society of Systematic Zoology
  • The Japanese Coral Reef Society
  • The Biological Society of Okinawa
  • The Japanese Society for Coral Taxonomy
  • The Nippon Cnidarian (Ctenophore) Biologists