Principal Investigator

PI: Yikweon Jang [cv]


Ph.D., The University of Kansas
B.S., Seoul National University


Professor, Ewha Womans University


I love animals and love to watch what they do. I also believe that understanding what animals do and why they do the way they do is the best way to conserve them. My research interests focus on the ecology and evolution of communication in insects, frogs, birds and mammals. Currently, I’m working on the causes of population decline in the endangered Suweon treefrog species, Dryophytes suweonensis. As their natural wetlands disappeared, two treefrog species, D. Suweonensis and D. Japonicus, have found the new habitats in man-made rice paddies for which 90 % of arable lands are accounted in Korea. Originally isolated in their natural habitats, the two treefrog species now compete with each other for access to calling and nesting locations in rice paddies. Unfortunately, D. suweonensis is inferior to the common treefrog D. japonica in competition. To make matters worse, ariculatural practices leave D. suweonensis even more vulnerable. One of the significant components in my research is the citizen science programs, called «The Earth Love Explorers», organized by our lab and a local publishing company. Schoolchildren and their parents have participated in the annual survey of treefrogs in western low-lying fields in Korea. Participation of citizens in this research provides not only the valuable information about population dynamics but also the public awareness of conserving D. suweonensis. As a result, we started a restoration project of the Suweon treefrog in a location where this species was originally described in the city of Suweon. Last year, we documented the advertisement calls, the tadpoles, and the froglets of the Suweon treefrogs in the restored area. In addition to treefrogs, I lead research projects about the spatio-temperal distributions of cicadas, the diversity of honey plants, and the diversity of acoustic insects via citizen science programs. Finally, I was involved in the release of three Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins into the waters off Jeju island in 2013. I led the behavioral research of the dolphins in the aquarium and sea pens to figure out the criteria for the release. In 2016, two of the reintroduced female dolphins gave birth. This is the first documented case of successful breeding by reintroduced dolphins in the world. I’m a professor in the Department of Life Sciences and Division of EcoScience at Ewha University in Korea.


Signal: Disappearing Sounds

This is a nature documentary about animal signals. I am guiding the journey of animal signals throughout the film and am the narrator too. This documentary was aired on 29 November 2018 on KBS Special.



The Laboratory [info]

Current members

Sae In Lee
Research on Javan Gibbon, Science Communicator


13653712.jpgHortense Serret
After a PhD in Ecology (National Museum of Natural History, NMNH, Paris, France) focused on the green spaces interests at business sites for the urban biodiversity, and especially on their contributions for urban connectivities, the biodiversity they hosted and their impacts on user’s well-being and reconection to nature, Hortense Serret has been managing projects focused on the integration of biodiversity into buildings projects throughout multidisciplinary approach by combining ecology, sociology, geography, landscaping and architectural design where the idea of Biophilia was leading the main axis.
She got a post-doctoral position at Ewha Womans University thanks to the Korean Research Foundation Program (from NRF). Her mission consist in conducting and developing citizen sciences projects in ecology in Korea in partnership with the Vigie-Nature’s team (NMNH).



Amaël Borzée
I am interested in population genetics, behavioral ecology and conservation of amphibians in general. I have been working on the reasons behind the drastic drop in population size for the Suweon Treefrog (Dryophytes suweonensis). I am now conducting research on the effects of climate change on the breeding phenology of salamanders, toads, ranids and hylids. I am also conducting a project on ecology, population genetics, phylogeograpy and conservation of all anuran species from North East Asia.


Kyungmin Kim
I am a master student currently studying on ecology and phylogeny of leopard cats. I am interested in ecology of endangered mammals and conservation policies for them, as well as habitat restoration.


Erick Kim
I received my Bachelors Degree from UCLA in Geography, with a minor in Urban and Regional Studies. I am currently assisting in two projects. One involved determining the life cycles of cicada species in South Korea, while the second studies feeding patterns of Black-faced Spoonbills during their breeding season.


Sungsik Kong
I was trained as a molecular systematist at the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum, where I conferred both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree. I am interested in the evolutionary relationships of the amphibians in the Northeast Asia, evolution of primate behavior in a macroevolutionary framework, algorithms behind the construction of molecular phylogenetic trees and theoretical evolution.


img_9457.jpgYena Kim
My research interest covers primate social cognition, especially prosociality and fairness in great apes and its hormonal regulation. Currently, I also work on social cognition in Asian Elephants and this will be expanded to other primate species. Since my research is mainly conducted in captivity, I have been closely collaborating with the zoos in Korea for the research as well as for the welfare of apes.


picture13.pngSoojin Jang
I am broadly interested in evolution of sociality and communication. In my Masters’ studies at Ewha Womans University, I studied acoustic communication on crickets and their calling strategy. From 2103, I started my PhD studies with a project ‘Releasing project of three bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops aduncus‘. In this project I assessed their releasability and progress of acclimation training through observation of behavior of captive dolphins in both the aquarium and the sea-pen setting. A major focus of my research now on group composition and habitat use pattern of the wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Jeju Island. To better understand how this free-ranging, fission-fusion animal behave at different spatio-temporal scale, our team collects GIS, behavioral, group level. I hope that my research will contribute their conservation in the future.


Jordy Groffen
My main focus lies in research on the ecology of invasive species and herpetofauna. I have worked all over the world and have developed a broad research interest. In 2012, I obtained two Master degrees in Animal Sciences with the specializations on Ethology, Welfare and Adaptation physiology (Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences).


Yoonjung Yi
I am working on the behavior of wild gibbons for my Ph.D. I have conducted my research in West Java, Indonesia for 2 years. My research in focused on the behavior, ecology and evolution, including intra-group interaction such as pair-bonding, parenting behavior, ethology of development stage and inter-group interaction.


Dami Jeong
Ph.D. Student, Laboratory of Behavior and Ecology, Interdisciplinary Program of EcoCreative, the Graduate School of Ewha Womans University.


IMG_0988Nguyen Quynh Hoa
My research interests vary from acoustic communication in cicadas to impacts of urban hear island effect on cicada abundance in metropolitan Seoul tackling from ecological and molecular perspectives. I am also curious about life histories of annual cicada species in Korean peninsula.


KakaoTalk_Photo_2017-05-16-15-11-07Ye Inn Kim
I am a first year graduate student conducting an experiment on thermal tolerance of tadpoles in South Korea in order to assess which species is the most vulnerable in the scenario of climate change. My interest has been expanding towards the underlying mechanisms of the development of their behavioral and morphological characters, and how environmental threats, such as climate change, impact their survivability. 


p20160425_110438006_776919cc-590f-4fd9-94d5-eec64a3d066b.jpgMinjee Choe


1445741618496.jpegYoonHyuk Bae
I am an undergraduate student from Hallym University, and I have been studying and gaining experiences at the laboratory since December, 2015. I am interested in conservation, ecology and animal behavior. I mostly work with the tiger beetles, but my interests are expanding towards cicadas and amphibians and reptiles.

Past members

1475454433759.jpgSung Min Ji
Undergraduate student in Korea University, Department of Biotechnology. Worked as a guest student in Behavior and Ecology Laboratory of Ewha Womans University since 2013. I have an interest in behavior ecology and conservation of endangered fishes.  These days, I am learning about ecology and work with the Cicada team.

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