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Prof. Masashi Ohara and Assoc. Prof. Ken-ichi Yamazaki selected for Hokkaido University Commendation for Excellent Teaching

The Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education selects Hokkaido University Commendation for Excellent Teaching recipients every year based on students’ feedback on the General Education Courses.

Thirty-two courses were selected based on the students’ feedback conducted last year. Prof. Masahi Ohara and Assoc. Prof. Ken-ichi Yamazaki, Division of Biosphere Science, were selected as commendation recipients. Prof. Ohara has been selected for the commendation 5 years in a row!

Name of their lectures recognized:
General Education Courses “Biology II” (Prof. Ohara)
General Education Courses “Biology I” (Assoc. Prof. Yamazaki)

Please refer to the following URL for more details:
http://educate.academic.hokudai.ac.jp/center/enquete/enquete.htm

[Press Release] “Herring-derived nutrients”: evidence from historical delta15N records of kelps

Kelp (Saccharina spp.) beds along the west coast of Hokkaido (Japan Sea) were used to be commercially exploited, but are currently decreasing. This is believed to be due to the present nutrient limitations. To date, however, the mechanisms that caused the nutrient limitations are still unclear because of a lack of scientific data on historical nutrient changes in this region. Dr. Takanori Kuribayashi (he received a doctoral degree as an adult student of our school), Lecturer Tsuyoshi Abe (Hokkaido University Museum), and Specially-appointed Prof. Shigeru Montani (Division of Biosphere Science) hypothesized that nutrients for Saccharina spp. beds may have been derived from spawning herrings (Clupea pallasii), which were previously caught 500–1000 times more than now. To test this hypothesis, they focused on stable nitrogen isotope ratios (delta15N) of 100- to 135-year-old Saccharina specimens preserved at Hokkaido University Museum. Delta15N values of old Saccharina specimens in this region were in the range of 10‰, which is significantly higher than the current specimens (3–7‰). This high delta15N supports the “herring-derived nutrients” hypothesis.

This research outcome is published in PLOS ONE.

Please visit links below to view the press release (Japanese ver. only).
Research Press Release (PDF)

[Press Release] Greater than expected increase in atmospheric water vapor in response to increased air temperature

Extremely heavy precipitation affects human society and the natural environment, and thus its behavior under a warming climate needs to be elucidated. Assoc. Prof. Tomonori Sato (Section of Integrated Environmental Science) and Dr. Mikiko Fujita (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) analyzed the relationship between atmospheric water vapor content and surface air temperature using precipitable water vapor derived from global positioning system satellites. This research outcome is published in Scientific Reports.

Please visit links below to view the press release (Japanese ver. only).
Research Press Release (PDF)

[Press Release] Prof. Sugiyama and Assist. Prof Hirano as members of 59th Antarctic Research Expedition!

It’s our school’s pleasure to inform you that Prof. Shin Sugiyama and Assist. Prof. Daisuke Hirano were chosen as members of 59th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition.

Please visit the following webpage of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan for more details (Japanese ver. only).
Press Release (MEXT)

[Press Release] Improving detection accuracy of incoming Asian dust (Kosa)

Monitoring incoming particulate matters such as Asian dust (Kosa in Japanese) is essential to keep us healthy. On 7 March 2016, the Terra/MODIS true color image clearly captured a yellow band over Hokkaido, Japan. On the same day, however, the Japan Meteorological Agency reported no Kosa event in Japan. An international research team that includes Assist. Prof. Sumito Matoba (Division of Earth System Science) investigated whether this event was due to Kosa transport or not, with the ground-based observations in Sapporo and Takikawa, Hokkaido and NASA’s MERRA-2 re-analysis data. This research outcome is published in Scientific Online Letters on the Atmosphere (SOLA), a letter journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan.

Please visit links below to view the press release (Japanese ver. only).
Research Press Release (PDF)

[Press Release] Molecular phylogeny of a parasitic isopod family Cymothoidae

Parasitic isopods of the family Cymothoidae may be one of the most familiar fish parasites particularly to fishermen. Cymothoid isopods are distributed in diverse aquatic environments from freshwater to deep sea with various parasitic modes (fish mouth, gill, skin, and body cavity). Their evolutionary diversification process is, however, still largely unknown. Assist. Prof. Ryota Kawanishi (Section of Integrated Environmental Science) and his collaborators of Ehime University, Hirosaki University, and Research Institute for Humanity and Nature conducted molecular phylogenetic analyses by collecting cymothoids and related species from across the world. They found a possibility that a common ancestor of Cymothoidae originated from the deep sea and expanded to shallower habitats. They also revealed at least two independent origins of freshwater lineages in the family. This research outcome is published in Marine Biology.

Please visit links below to view the press release (Japanese ver. only).
Research Press Release (PDF)

[Press Release] Dissolved iron distribution in the western and central subarctic Pacific

Phytoplankton growth is broadly limited by iron (Fe) availability in the subarctic Pacific. To investigate which Fe sources control the amplitude of seasonal variation in biogeochemical parameters in the subarctic Pacific, Assoc. Prof. Jun Nishioka (Division of Earth System Science) and Assoc. Prof. Hajime Obata (the University of Tokyo) examined the spatial variation in the west-to-east distribution of dissolved Fe (DFe) across the western and central subarctic Pacific. Results indicated that the western Fe-rich intermediate water is well explained by external sedimentary Fe sources and water transport systems from a subpolar marginal sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the continental margin. This research outcome is published in Limnology and Oceanography, a journal of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.

Please visit links below to view the press release (Japanese version only).
Research Press Release (PDF)

[Press Release] Breakup of land-fast sea ice in East Antarctica and its teleconnection to tropical Pacific sea-surface temperatures

Assoc. Prof. Shigeru Aoki (Division of Earth System Science) investigated breakups of land-fast sea ice in Lützow-Holm Bay, East Antarctica using satellite imaging data. He found its teleconnection to tropical Pacific sea-surface temperatures. This study offers hope for future predictions of ice behavior to merit the logistics to Antarctic research stations.

This research outcome is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Please visit links below to view the press release (Japanese version only).
Research Press Release (PDF)

[Press Release] Sustainable Tourism by an academic-industrial alliance with Hoshino Resorts

Research on a long-term academic-industrial alliance between Hoshino Resorts and our graduate school was published in Journal of Sustainable Tourism, one of the famous academic journals on tourism. This journal focuses sustainable tourism, which respects environmental resources and cultural heritage in each region while bringing social and economic benefits.

Please visit links below to view the press release (Japanese version only).
Research Press Release (PDF)

[Press Release] Evaluating the aesthetic value of landscapes in Hokkaido using geotagged photos shared on SNS

A research team of Nobuhiko Yoshimura, a doctoral student (Division of Environmental Science Development), and Prof. Tsutomu Hiura (Division of Biosphere Science) developed a new method to evaluate the aesthetic value of landscapes in Hokkaido using geotagged photos shared on SNS (Flickr) in order to reveal demand and supply of cultural ecosystem services. This method enables to evaluate the value of landscapes in detail and over a wide area, and is also applicable in many other locations. Therefore, it will be helpful to determine which locations should be targeted for environmental conservation or used for tourism. This research outcome is published in Ecosystem Services.

Please visit links below to view the press release.
Research Press Release (English)

Graduate School of Environmental Sceince, Hokkaido University