Researcher Database

Helena Fortunato
Faculty of Science Biological Sciences Biodiversity
Associate Professor

Researcher Profile and Settings

Affiliation

  • Faculty of Science Biological Sciences Biodiversity

Job Title

  • Associate Professor

Degree

  • PhD(Moscow State University, Russia)

J-Global ID

Profile

  • Works on coastal marine biodiversity: evolution, biogeography, impacts (anthropogenic, warming, acidification). Major groups: molluscs, bryozoans, coralline algae

Research Interests

  • ecology   climate change   evolution   biogeography   Marine diversity   

Research Areas

  • Life sciences / Biodiversity and systematics / marine invertebrates

Academic & Professional Experience

  • 2011/12 - Today Hokkaido University Biodiversity Associate Professor
  • 2006/10 - 2011/11 Kiel University Institut für Geowissenschaften ,Paleobiology Visiting Researcher
  • 1988/01 - 2006/09 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution Marine biodiversity Staff scientist

Education

  • 1983/09 - 1987/07  Moscow State University, Russia  Invertebrate Zoology  PhD
  • 1978/09 - 1983/08  Simferopol State University, Russia  Invertebrate Zoology  Msc
  • 1965/10 - 1977/07  Liceu D Duarte, Coimbra, Portugal  Elementary/Middle/High school education

Association Memberships

  • Bryozoological Society   American Malacological Society   Society for the Study of Evolution   Unitas Malacologica   

Research Activities

Published Papers

  • Helena Fortunato
    American Malacological Bulletin 33 (2) 1 - 15 0740-2783 2015/11/01 [Refereed][Not invited]
     
    Mollusks are among the most diverse and abundant animal groups, inhabiting many aquatic and terrestrial environments. They are important ecosystem engineers, helping to structure aquatic bottom environments and providing habitat, protection, and food to a wide array of other taxa. Mollusks have been historically important to humans in many ways, and are today an economically important group worldwide. As major calcareous organisms with an extensive fossil record, they can provide important information on past climate events and oceanic changes, thus, increasing our understanding of predicted future changes. This paper presents an overview of the use of mollusks in environmental and impact studies, to provide a baseline towards a wider use of this diverse group ( and the valuable collections housed in many museums) as proxies in environmental reconstruction, climate change, ocean warming, and acidification research.
  • Helena Fortunato
    REGIONAL STUDIES IN MARINE SCIENCE 2 (2) 32 - 44 2352-4855 2015/11 [Refereed][Invited]
     
    Bryozoans are colonial animals that are widely distributed in marine benthic environments and play an important role in temperate and cold-water oceanic shelves as habitat providers. Morphologically and mineralogically diverse, bryozoans are important carbonate producers with an extensive fossil record, which makes them good indicators in environmental and (paleo) environmental research. Existing data, though insufficient, suggests that bryozoans can become a valuable tool in investigating present-day climate change. This paper reviews the major characteristics of bryozoans, their function in shallow oceanic areas worldwide, and their potential as proxy organisms in climate and ocean acidification research. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Coralline red algae: a proxy in climate and ocean acidification studies.
    Helena Fortunato
    Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie 2015 [Refereed][Invited]
  • Calcification patterns in the cheilostome bryozoan Flustra foliacea (L.) from the North Sea and Baltic Sea
    Schäfer, P, Fortunato, H, Blaschek H
    Studi Trentini di Scienze Naturali (94) 213 - 221 2014 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Salinity effects on growth and development of Flustra foliacea (L.) zooids: experimental data
    Fortunato, H, Roloff, A, Schäfer P
    Studi Trentini di Scienze Naturali 94 111 - 118 2014 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Collections and Climate Change Research: Flustra foliacea (L.) (Bryozoa) hosted by the NHMUK
    Helena Fortunato
    Annals of Bryozoology 4: Aspects of the History of Research on Bryozoans 53 - 73 2014 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Priska Schaefer, Helena Fortunato, Beate Bader, Volker Liebetrau, Thorsten Bauch, John J. G. Reijmer
    PALAIOS 26 (7-8) 420 - 432 0883-1351 2011/07 [Refereed][Not invited]
     
    Distribution, growth rate, and carbonate production of non-geniculate and unattached coralline red algal beds (rhodoliths) were studied in the Gulfs of Panama and Chiriqui along the Pacific coast of Panama. This is the first attempt to quantify coralline carbonate production in this region based on a newly developed algorithm. Although situated at the same latitude, the two gulfs are characterized by distinctly different environmental conditions; Chiriqui is mesotrophic throughout the year, whereas the Gulf of Panama is eutrophic due to intense seasonal upwelling. Coralline algal carbonate production is similar to 10x greater in the Gulf of Chiriqui (11.258 x 10(10) gr CaCO(3) yr(-1)) than in the Gulf of Panama (1.69 x 10(10) gr CaCO(3) yr(-1)), which is characterized mostly by siliciclastics with minor carbonates. Corallines display a patchy distribution in both gulfs being concentrated mainly around the islands. In Chiriqui, they occur as thin crusts as well as massive-nodular and open-branching growth types; encrusting types are most common in the Gulf of Panama. Growth rates of branching corallines were calculated based on annual growth bands matched to their skeletal Mg/Ca ratios. Ratios are higher in the less dense portions of growth bands corresponding to higher growth rates during the dry season, whereas both Mg/Ca ratios and growth rates in the dense portions (wet season) drop. Growth rates of branch tips in both sites are similar to those reported from other temperate-subtropical regions. Extremely slow growth rates combined with the old ages of individual thalli document the overall stability of this algal ecosystem.
  • G. O. Introini, C. A. Magalhaes, H. Fortunato, S. M. Recco-Pimentel
    TISSUE & CELL 41 (1) 67 - 74 0040-8166 2009/02 [Refereed][Not invited]
     
    In this Study We used transmission and scanning electron microscopy to examine the spermatozoan Structure of Isognomon bicolor and Isognomon alatus. The spermatozoa of both species were of the primitive or ect-aquasperm type. The acrosomal morphologies were essentially similar but the top of the acrosomal vesicle in I. bicolor sperm had a slightly flattened edge whereas the apex of the acrosomal vesicle of. alatus sperm had a rounded outline. This difference Suggested that acrosomal morphology Could be an important character for taxonomic differentiation. In the present work, the results demonstrated that the gamete ultrastructure of the two distinct species I. alatus, from Panama, and I. bicolor, from the southeastern region of Brazil, were similar to the other studied species of the superfamily Pterioidea. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Ectoparasitism byVitularia salebrosa (Neogastropoda: Muricidae) on molluscan hosts: Evidence from predation traces, isotope sclerochronology, and feeding experiments
    Herbert, G. S, Dietl, G. P, Fortunato, H, Sliko, J, Simone, L. R
    The Nautilus 123 (3) 121 - 136 2009 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Helena Fortunato
    Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie 253 (1) 145 - 161 2009 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Aaron O'Dea, Jeremy B. C. Jackson, Helena Fortunato, J. Travis Smith, Luis D'Croz, Kenneth G. Johnson, Jonathan A. Todd
    PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 104 (13) 5501 - 5506 0027-8424 2007/03 [Refereed][Not invited]
     
    Paleontologists typically treat major episodes of extinction as single and distinct events in which a major environmental perturbation results in a synchronous evolutionary response. Alternatively, the causes of biotic change may be multifaceted and extinction may lag behind the changes ultimately responsible because of nonlinear ecological dynamics. We examined these alternatives for the major episode of Caribbean extinction 2 million years ago (Ma). Isolation of the Caribbean from the Eastern Pacific by uplift of the Panamanian Isthmus was associated with synchronous changes in Caribbean near shore environments and community composition between 4.25 and 3.45 Ma. Seasonal fluctuations in Caribbean seawater temperature decreased 3-fold, carbonate deposition increased, and there was a striking, albeit patchy, shift in dominance of benthic ecosystems from heterotrophic mollusks to mixotrophic reef corals and calcareous algae. All of these changes correspond well with a simple model of decreased upwelling and collapse in planktonic productivity associated with the final stages of the closure of the isthmian barrier. However, extinction rates of mollusks and corals did not increase until 3-2 Ma and sharply peaked between 2 and 1 Ma, even though extinction overwhelmingly affected taxa commonly associated with high productivity. This time lag suggests that something other than environmental change per se was involved in extinction that does not occur as a single event. Understanding cause and effect will require more taxonomically refined analysis of the changing abundance and distribution patterns of different ecological guilds in the 2 million years leading up to the relatively sudden peak in extinction.
  • Phylogeny of the genera Cotonopsis and Cosmioconcha (Neogastropoda: Buccinoidea)
    Helena Fortunato
    American Malacological Bulletin 23 (1/2) 33 - 42 2007 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Diversity and abundance of tropical American scallops (Bivalvia : Pectinidae) from opposite sides of the central American Isthmus
    J. Travis Smith, Jeremy B. C. Jackson, Helena Fortunato
    VELIGER 48 (1) 26 - 45 0042-3211 2006/06 [Refereed][Not invited]
     
    There is confusion about the comparative diversity of mollusks on opposite sides of the Isthmus of Panama due to inadequate sampling and contrasting patterns of diversity for different molluscan taxa. We report here on the occurrence of scallops (Bivalvia: Pectinidae) from extensive new dredge sample collections from the Gulf of Panama and Gulf of Chiriqui in the Eastern Pacific and from the San Blas archipelago to the Cochinos Cays in the Gulf of Honduras in the southwestern Caribbean. The collections contain more than 8000 specimens of 33 species from 213 collections. These include 22 Caribbean species and 11 Eastern Pacific species. However, the average abundance of scallops per collection is much higher in the Eastern Pacific so that the average number of species per collection was similar in the two oceans. This discrepancy in abundance is the principal reason previous workers have erroneously concluded that species diversity is equal or even greater in the Eastern Pacific than the Caribbean. Numbers of scallop species at the seven different Caribbean localities sampled average about one and one half times higher than the two regions in the Eastern Pacific, and the total differences in species richness are two times higher for all the regions combined. Most scallop species were common to abundant and scallop species do not exhibit a log series or log normal pattern of relative abundance. However, we found eight previously undescribed species, two in the Eastern Pacific and six in the Caribbean. These appear to be geminate species and are indistinguishable, pending detailed morphological study, from species occurring in the opposite ocean. These new species are all rare but typically occurred in sufficient abundance and at numerous localities so that their occurrence is not in question.
  • A O'Dea, A Herrera-Cubilla, H Fortunato, JBC Jackson
    MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES 280 (280) 145 - 161 0171-8630 2004 [Refereed][Not invited]
     
    Cupuladriid bryozoans are able to produce new colonies both sexually through the production of larvae and asexually via fragmentation. The prevalence of asexual propagation and the physical and biological processes of fragmentation in cupuladriid species are currently little understood. In a large survey comprising collections of nearly 32 000 cupuladriids from either side of the Isthmus of Panama, patterns of cupuladriid species richness, occurrence and abundance were measured together with levels of asexual propagation, fragmentation and regeneration. The Caribbean side is characterised by greater cupuladriid diversity and dominance of the genus Cupuladria over Discoporella while the eastern Pacific coast is characterised by lower cupuladriid diversity and complete dominance of Discoporella. Life history variation was not found to be constrained by phylogeny and no systematic differences were found in life history or morphologies between Cupuladria and Discoporella to explain the patterns in generic dominance across the isthmus. Nonetheless, striking differences occur in life history strategies across the isthmus. Eastern Pacific species tend to be large, flat and lightly calcified, resulting in high levels of fragmentation and hence asexual propagation. Conversely, Caribbean species produce a wider range of morphologies, including small, highly domed and highly calcified colonies that protect from fragmentation. By correlating colony morphologies with reproductive life histories within species, we show that morphologies, particularly colony strength and size, control levels of fragmentation and thus mode of propagation in cupuladriids. Life history strategies that promote asexual propagation are found to track levels of primary productivity both between oceans across the isthmus and between regions within oceans.
  • Foregut and Reproductive tract anatomy of three species of the Strombina-Group (Buccinoidea: Columbellidae).
    Helena Fortunato
    Iberus 21 (2) 109 - 122 2003 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • The systematic position of Strombina (Cotonopsis) lindae Petuch, 1988 (Gastropoda : Columbellidae)
    H Fortunato
    NAUTILUS 116 (2) 59 - 61 0028-1344 2002/06 [Refereed][Not invited]
     
    The systematic position of Strombina lindae Petuch, 1988, is discussed and revised. The species should be allocated in the columbellid genus Cotonopsis Olsson, 1942, The shell characteristics that define the two known Cotonopsis subgenera, C. (Cotonopsis) and C. (Turrina), are itemized and contrasted. The holotype of S. lindae is re-illustrated and the protoconch figured for the first time.
  • JA Todd, JBC Jackson, KG Johnson, HM Fortunato, A Heitz, M Alvarez, P Jung
    PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 269 (1491) 571 - 577 0962-8452 2002/03 [Refereed][Not invited]
     
    Molluscan faunal turnover in the Plio-Pleistocene of the tropical western Atlantic has been attributed to drops in temperature or primary productivity, but these competing hypotheses have not been assessed ecologically. To test these alternatives, we compiled data on changing molluscan life habits and trophic composition over 12 million years derived from 463 newly made collections from the southwestern Caribbean. Shelf ecosystems have altered markedly in trophic structure since the Late Pliocene. Predatory gastropods and suspension-feeding bivalves declined significantly in abundance, but not in diversity, and reef-dwellers became common. By contrast, all other ecological life habits remained remarkably stable. Food-web changes strongly support the hypothesis that declining regional nutrient supply had an increasing impact on regional macroecology, culminating in a faunal turnover.
  • Reproduction and larval development of the Strombina-group (Buccinoidea: Columbellidae) and related gastropods: testing the use of the larval shell for inference of development in fossil species
    Helena Fortunato
    Bolletino Malacologico (4) 111 - 126 2002 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Observations on the reproduction of Bifurcium bicanaliferum (Sowerby, 1832) (Gastropoda: Columbellidae; Strombina-group) from the Pacific coast of Panama
    Fortunato, H, Penchaszadeh, P, Miloslavich, P
    The Veliger (41) 208 - 211 1998 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Reconciling observed patterns of temporal occurrence with cladistic hypotheses of phylogenetic relationship
    H Fortunato
    AMERICAN MALACOLOGICAL BULLETIN 14 (2) 191 - 200 0740-2783 1998 [Refereed][Not invited]
     
    Cladistic analyses of well-sampled groups with a complete and abundant fossil record can yield phylogenetic hypotheses that conflict with stratigraphic data, even to the extent of supporting phylogenies that appear to invert the stratigraphy. This is most probably due to the convergent evolution of similar morphologies (i. e. homoplasy), rather than the inadequacy of the fossil record. Several ways have been proposed to resolve this problem (stratophenetics, stratocladistics, character refinement, etc.). This paper proposes an iteractive technique to construct a tree more consistent with the observed fossil record by building separate phylogenies for different stratigraphic intervals which can then be assembled into a composite phylogeny. Columbellid gastropods of the genus Strombina Morch, 1852, were used to test this approach. Strombina originated and diversified in the Caribbean during the Miocene and Pliocene. During the Pliocene, they became nearly extinct in the Caribbean, but diversified in the eastern Pacific. Phylogenies of 42 species based only on shell morphology (49 characters, 186 states) yielded trees with high stratigraphic inconsistency and ghost lineages that require the presence of descendants 10 million years or more before the first appearance of their hypothesized ancestors. Removal of species that originated after the Pliocene resolved most of these stratigraphic inconsistencies although some ghost lineages remained. This Miocene/Pliocene nee was then used to root the trees illustrating the relationships among Pleistocene/Holocene species. This final composite tree is more consistent with the hypothesized fossil record for the group than the original tree.
  • Phenogeography and host-parasite co-evolution of fish and sea mammals’ parasites
    Helena Fortunato
    Moscow State University 1987/08 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Reproductive strategies in gastropods across the Panama seaway.
    Helena Fortunato
    Invertebrate Reproduction and Development 46 (2-3) 139-148  [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Naticid gastropod predation rates in the Gatun formation (lower Middle Miocene), Panama: preliminary assessment
    Helena Fortunato
    Paläontologisches Zeitschrift, 81 (3) 356 - 364 [Refereed][Not invited]
  • Growth rates, age determination and calcification levels in Flustra foliacea (L.) (Bryozoa: Cheilostomata) – preliminary assessment
    Helena Fortunato
    Bryozoan Studies 2010, Lecture Notes in Earth System Sciences 143 59 - 74 [Refereed][Not invited]

Conference Activities & Talks

  • Organizer  [Invited]
    Helena Fortunato
    VI Latinoamerican Malacological Conference  2006/06

Research Grants & Projects

  • The bryozoan Flustra foliacaea – impact of ocean acidification on benthic organisms
    DFG:
    Date (from‐to) : 2009/01 -2011/10 
    Author : Helena Fortunato
  • Mollusk biodiversity and changes in productivity triggered by the rise of the Panama Isthmus
    Smithsonian Scholarly Studies:
    Date (from‐to) : 1995/07 -1999/07 
    Author : Helena Fortunato
  • Neogene Marine Biota of Tropical America (NMITA)
    NSF:
    Date (from‐to) : 1995/07 -1998/07 
    Author : Helena Fortunato

Educational Activities

Teaching Experience

  • Biodiversity and climate change, Science English, General BiologyBiodiversity and climate change, Science English, General Biology Hokkaido University
  • Biogeography, Science and Medical English, PaleobiologyBiogeography, Science and Medical English, Paleobiology Kiel University
  • Biogeography, EvolutionBiogeography, Evolution University of Panama
  • Methods in Biodiversity Studies
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 修士課程
    開講学部 : 理学院
    キーワード : 生物多様性,分類,系統,古生物,進化発生学,動物,植物,海藻,原生生物,系統地理学
  • Evolutionary Biology
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 修士課程
    開講学部 : 理学院
    キーワード : climate change, biodiversity crisis, climate change impact on ecosystems, climate change mitigation policies
  • Introduction to Biodiversity Study
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 修士課程
    開講学部 : 理学院
    キーワード : Biodiversity Concepts, Origin and Maintenance of Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Values, Population Dynamics, Extinction Events, Conservation Policies
  • Inter-Graduate School Classes(General Subject):Natural and Applied Sciences
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 修士課程
    開講学部 : 大学院共通科目
    キーワード : Biodiversity Concepts, Origin and Maintenance of Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Values, Population Dynamics, Extinction Events, Conservation Policies
  • Inter-Graduate School Classes(General Subject):Natural and Applied Sciences
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 修士課程
    開講学部 : 大学院共通科目
    キーワード : climate change, biodiversity crisis, climate change impact on ecosystems, climate change mitigation policies
  • Special Lecture II
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 修士課程
    開講学部 : 理学院
    キーワード : biodiversity, coastal environments, rocky shore, conservation, marine resources, biodiversity crisis
  • Special Lecture II
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 博士後期課程
    開講学部 : 理学院
    キーワード : biodiversity, coastal environments, rocky shore, conservation, marine resources, biodiversity crisis
  • Readings of Scientific Literature
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 総合教育部
    キーワード : Biology, scientific papers, English reading, English composition, oral skills, presentation skills
  • Arts and Science Courses in English 1
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 国際本部
    キーワード : Biodiversity Concepts, Origin and Maintenance of Biodiversity, Biodiversity Crisis, Biodiversity Values, Population Dynamics, Extinction Events, Conservation Policies
  • Arts and Science Courses in English 2
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 国際本部
    キーワード : cell biology and chemistry, Mendelian genetics, genomics, evidence for evolution, origin of species, Darwinism
  • Arts and Science Courses in English 2
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 国際本部
    キーワード : Systematics and Phylogenetics, diversity of life, major animals groups, major plant groups, behavior, population ecology, conservation
  • Arts and Science Courses in English 2
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 国際本部
    キーワード : climate change, biodiversity crisis, climate change impact on ecosystems, climate change mitigation policies
  • Biology I
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 全学教育
    キーワード : cell biology and chemistry, Mendelian genetics, genomics, evidence for evolution, origin of species, Darwinism
  • Biology I
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 全学教育
    キーワード : cell biology and chemistry, Mendelian genetics, DNA and gene structure, translation and transcription, gene expression and its control, mutations and biotechnology
  • Biology II
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 全学教育
    キーワード : Systematics and Phylogenetics, diversity of life, major animals groups, major plant groups, behavior, population ecology, conservation
  • Special Lecture in Biology Ⅵ
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 理学部
    キーワード : biodiversity, coastal environments, rocky shore, conservation, marine resources, biodiversity crisis
  • Readings of Scientific Literature
    開講年度 : 2018
    課程区分 : 学士課程
    開講学部 : 理学部
    キーワード : 生物学,科学論文,英文読解,英作文,ヒアリング,プレゼンテーション


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