Akito was raised in Japan and the United States but gained an appreciation for insects during his childhood in Japan. He is a specialist on the evolution of the predator-prey interactions, especially bats and moths. He completed his undergraduate degree at Cornell University, and graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and conducted his dissertation research at the Smithsonian Museum. After spending a year as a postdoctoral scholar in Hawaii, he began as an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida in 2011. He has published over 70 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is currently involved in a $2.5M research project on the evolution of butterflies and moths. His research with colleagues focuses on the evolution of moth hearing, echolocation jamming, and acoustic deflection. His work has been mentioned in the NY Times, National Geographic, Science News, Discovery Chanel, and highlighted in David Attenborough’s films.
Akito is also very passionate about educating the public about the importance of natural history, especially small organisms such as insects and their predators. He has received teaching awards from the University of Maryland, and has been involved with numerous outreach programs in the United States and Japan. He has written about the misconceptions and the culture surrounding insects and arachnids, and also co-produced an award-winning documentary on the subject.
Akito will be part of this year's Saba After Dark research. Stay tuned for more details.