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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A research team that includes Prof. Tsutomu Hiura (Division of Biosphere Science) revealed that the reason why Sapporo-maimai, an arboreal snail, live in trees where it seems to be a unique habitat. The research outcome shows that the snail, after hibernation on the forest floor during winter, move into the treetops and then come back down to the ground in fall. It also shows lower predation pressure in the trees than on the forest floor and the snail’s different feeding habits in trees from forest-floor dwelling snails.
Airy environment like in trees is generally believed as an unsuitable habitat for snails. However, this research lead to a clear finding that Sapporo-maimai has developed to adapt to living in trees where there are fewer predators and plenty of foods.
This research is receiving high evaluations in terms of proving the snail’s adaptation to living in trees under natural environment focusing on arboreal snails that represent slowest animals in the world. It is a thought-provoking result about the significance of conservation of virgin forests where they can survive.

This research outcome is published in Animal Behaviour.

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http://www.csj.jp/nenkai/standing/young.html
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An international research group that consists of Assoc. Prof. Toru Miura, his lab’s former and present graduate students, and researchers of Nagoya Univ., Washington State Univ., and the Univ. of Montana-Missoula analyzed developmental functions of limb-patterning genes in the sexually dimorphic stag beetle. They found that the dachshund expression is required for enlargement of male stag beetle mandibles. The corresponding author, Assist. Prof. Hiroki Gotoh of Nagoya Univ. is a researcher who completed his Ph. D. work in our graduate school. He is also a winner of the Matsuno Environmental Science Prize of this academic year.

This research outcome is published in Developmental Biology, an international academic journal on developmental biology.

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An international research group that consists of 64 researchers of 31 organizations revealed state dependence of climatic instability over the past 720,000 years from Antarctic ice cores and climate modeling. Assoc. Prof. Masakazu Yoshimori (Faculty of Env. Earth Sci.), Prof. Ralf Greve, and Assist. Prof. Yoshinori Iizuka (Institute of Low Temp. Sci.) of our graduate school have taken part in the research team. This research outcome is published in Science Advances, an AAAS’ open access online journal.

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Graduate School of Environmental Sceince, Hokkaido University