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No 30
Introduction of Dr. Motoko Inatomi
The research has been started at Frontier Research Center for Global Change since last August. River Basin Research Center, Gifu University belonged from Doctoral Program, and was researching concerning the carbon cycle of the forest ecosystem. The dissertation research was effect on carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from soil by nitrogen load in rainfall. Nitrogen was manured on the forest floor with the scatter machine, artificial increased the amount of nitrogen was inputted forest ecosystem, and carbon dioxide and methane fluxes from the soil were measured.
Photograph of artificial nitrogen load in my study site
Photograph of
artificial nitrogen
load in my study site
At FRCGC, my research that develops terrestrial carbon cycle model introduced nitrogen cycle and methane dynamics, which is completely different from my previous observational research. I have not used the computer program, however The research is happily advanced under the researcher and the staff's supporting. As a part of the result of my research, Model estimation of soil exchange of trace greenhouse gases in a cool-temperate deciduous broad-leaved forest in Japan was had poster presentation with iLEAPS in January 2006.

No 29
Introduction of Dr. Ishii Reiichiro, who joined our Program in July.
In my previous position at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto, I studied the impacts of human activities on the aquatic ecosystem of Lake Biwa (e.g., eutrophication, species extinction). Since my graduate school days, my major research interest has been on the theoretical study of the maintenance mechanisms of biodiversity. I have been trying to discover novel mechanisms of sympatric species coexistence of sessile primary producers such as higher plants or reef-building corals. Specifically, my concern has centered on the adaptation strategies of these primary producers to variable light conditions and interactions with their pollinators and herbivores, but recently it is expanding to include human-dimensions.
Thanks to my colleagues and friends with various backgrounds, from field researchers to molecular biologists, I through whom have had lots of chances to see the real ecology (i.e., way of living) of organisms at various scales. These precious experiences always remind me to make my models oriented toward observed-phenomena. At Frontier, my research is on the evaluation and prediction of the effect of climate change on vegetation at the continental scale with mechanistic models incorporating feasible ecological interactions. The modeling should be oriented to the satellite observed patterns, and this has become my new challenge.


No 28
Introduction of Kousei Sasaoka, who joined our Program in April 2005.
Before joining the FRCGC, I had been a member of the analysis research team of Global Imager (GLI)onboard ADEOS-II satellite at Earth Observation Research and application Center, Japan AerospaceExploration Agency (JAXA/EORC). I studied controlling mechanisms of temporal and spatial variability ofphytoplankton and its primary production in the ocean using ocean color remote sensing. In my doctor'scourse (Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University), I examined temporal and spatial variability of phytoplankton biomass andprimary production in the sub-arctic North Pacific combined satellite and ship observations, and I revealed that the physical turbulence due to climate changes such as El-Nino also greatlyaffected the biological production in the northwestern North Pacific.

In order to solve the influence on the carbon cycle and marine ecosystem caused by climatechange, we need to estimate accurately the exchange of the carbon dioxide and primaryproduction in the ocean. In this research program, I will estimate partial pressure of carbondioxide (pCO2) and primary production using satellite data, and clarify those seasonal and interannual variations. Furthermore, I'dlike to evolve the new methodology for ecosystem change research, comparing satellite data with results of ecosystem model orutilizing it for the input parameter of ecosystem models.


No 27
Introduction of Tomomichi Kato, who joined the Ecosystem Change Research Program in April, 2004.
Before joining the Frontier Research Center for Global Change, I was with Doctoral Program in Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba. There, I had studied the carbon dynamic in the alpine meadow ecosystem in Qinhai-Tibetan plateau as my doctoral dissertation. During my research projects, I had visited the site four times, and measured the CO2 flux between the land surface and the atmosphere using the eddy covariance and chamber techniques. Working at 3,200 meter above sea level, I experience several difficulties due to the lack of Oxygen, such as difficulties in breathing, and having tiredness. Well, after getting used to it, I enjoyed my life in the field, such as foods, wonderful views (though I got board soon), communication with Tibetan people and so forth.
At FRCGC, I engage to develop the coupled climate - terrestrial carbon cycle model and predict the global warming effect on their coupled system using said model, which is completely different from my previous observational research. This research is a part of development of integrated Earth System Model, which can simulate the interactive changes among climate, atmospheric, and ocean composition, as well as land and ocean ecosystems. Since I hardly used the large-scale Unix computers before, I may have a hard time to use a supercomputer, such as the Earth Simulator. However, I would like to do my best to carry out my research with kind
cooperation of other researchers and stuff members.



No 26

Introduction of Dr. Hideki Kobayashi, who joined the Ecosystem Change Research Program in April 2004

I received doctor's degree in March, 2004. I majored in Material Science in Physics Department at the university, and then studied monitoring methods for land vegetation by using remote sensing in an engineering laboratory of the graduated school. Taking an opportunity to study in a program on ecosystem, I now trying to extent my knowledge. Smoke generated by forest fires in Southeast Asia decreases the amount of photosynthetically available solar radiation and affects the net primary production (NPP) of the plants. In my doctor's course, I evaluated these issues over Southeast Asia using satellite data. Air pollution of East Asia and Southeast Asia is especially serious compared with other regions. Therefore, in the long view, variation of solar radiation environment caused by the air pollution is likely to affect the amount of carbon assimilation of plants. In Ecosystem Change Research Program, I plan to conduct a research on the relationship between the variation of solar radiation and the amount of carbon absorption of plants in whole Asia with Dr. Dennis Dye, the group leader of this program.


No 25

Below is a summary of the projects that the Marine Biological Process Model Group is now working on.
   Our group received Global Environment Research funding in 2003, and we began studies aimed at elucidating the mechanism of ocean ecosystem changes in the western North Pacific in cooperation with the Tohoku National Fisheries Research Institute etc. These studies focus on analyzing zooplankton samples (commonly called the "Odate Collection" after a collector, Doctor Odate) collected over the past 50 years. Other than the Odate Collection, only the Scripps Research Institute in the U.S. and the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science in England possess plankton data stretching back over more than 50 years. By cooperating with these research institutes in comparing mechanisms in each sea area, we can expect to clarify the pattern of hemisphericscale climate-ocean ecosystem changes. Furthermore, although such monitoring has recently been dropped due to budget shortages, we expect that we can use the results of these studies to strengthen our case for continuous and steady monitoring.

No 24

Report of the Decennial Anniversary Workshop of Takayama site by Akihiko Ito.

From 21 and 22 October, I participated in the Decennial Anniversary Workshop held in Takayama-city, Gifu. The theme of the workshop was carbon budget of forest ecosystem. Since forest carbon budget has been considered as one of the significant elements of the Kyoto Protocol, it is widely recognized that understanding carbon cycle is very important in global environmental issues. At the site in the vicinity of the workshop place, forest carbon budget has been monitored for almost 10 years by the research groups of Gifu University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Since such a long-term measurement is very difficult, only few data is available to examine ecosystem model results. Yet since very valuable long-term data is available at Takayama site, I could develop a model to simulate carbon budget with a substantial reliability. As a result, my presentation had a favorable feedback from field researchers at the site. After the workshop, almost all participants visited Takayama site to continue further discussions, and to enjoy its beauty. The site of 1420 meter latitude, was already filled with autumn tints.

No 23

We are pleased to introduce Dr. Rikie Suzuki, who joined our Program in this April.

Until March 2003, before transferring to the Ecosystem Change Research Program, I had been a member of the Hydrological Cycle Research Program of the Frontier Research Center for Global Change. My research focuses on the relationship between vegetation and the climate system. It is well known that the distribution of vegetation is strongly controlled by climate. However, when seasonal and annual variations are included, there are many unknown factors. In addition, looking at the global scale, the quantities of water vapor discharged into the atmosphere and carbon dioxide absorbed by plants are considerably huge, and significantly affect global climate change. It is therefore important to understand the relationship between vegetation and the climate system as one of the key aspects of global change. Based on research I have conducted at the Hydrological Cycle Research Program, I would like to extend my study on climate systems from the viewpoint of vegetation, utilizing various vegetation data and other current meteorological data observed by satellites.

No 22

We would like to introduce Dr. Hisashi Sato, a new researcher who has joined us in last December.

Before joining the FRCGC, I was studying the evolution and ecology of plants' reproduction. In this past few years, I have conducted theoretical analysis on the evolution of large diversity within plants' sexual system. At FRCGC, as a member of "Subject No. 2, Development of Integrated Earth System Model for Global Warming Prediction, under the MEXT's Research Project for Sustainable Coexistence of Human, Nature, and the Earth," my task is to model the shift of vegetation zone involved with climate change. In fact ecology is not matured yet to build an accurate prediction model, yet I would like to try and struggle to create a reasonable model for our project. Especially, since boreal forests, where large scale change will expected to occur in the new future, will have great impact on the future of our earth's environment, prediction of its dynamics is one of our urgent subjects. I will therefore proceed with the analysis of the vegetation dynamics in the boreal forests focusing on process of seeds dispersal and settlement.

No 21

Report of the Arctic Ocean Research by Sanae Chiba.

I have participated in the "Joint Western Arctic Climate Study (JWACS) co-organized by Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC) and Fishery and Oceans Canada. I boarded a research vessel "Mirai" from 1st September to 10th October, and conducted a survey on Plankton in the Arctic Ocean. The participants from Biology field include specialists from virus, bacteria, plankton, fish, up to marine mammals, and they all conducted their own survey on the biomass distribution and community structure. By analyzing the obtained data, we will be able to clarify the process on how the plankton-based ocean ecosyste will change according to physical and biological environment of this area with complicated dimension. Even though it became a bit rough in October, the overall sea condition was good. With a delicious meal, it was a very pleasant voyage.

No 20

We would like to introduce Dr. Dennis Dye, who has been promoted to Group Leader in April 2002.

Dr. Dye joined our Program as Sub-Leader of the Ecosystem Geographical Distribution Model Group in June of 2000. Prior to joining Frontier, Dr. Dye was a professor at Boston University, in the United States. 

Dr. Dye brings to Frontier an extensive background in satellite remote sensing, terrestrial ecology, and bioclimatology. "My main interest is in improving our understanding of the interactions between terrestrial ecosystems and the global climate system, and how each responds to changes in the other", says Dye. 

Dye's recent research has examined the dynamics of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere snow and its relation to vegetation growth activity. According to Dye, "we revealed that the springtime disappearance of snow-cover in northern land areas has shifted earlier by nearly 2 weeks during recent decades. This trend contributes to a longer growing season, and potentially, greater uptake of atmospheric CO2 by high-latitude vegetation, and also influences climate directly altering the surface-energy balance".

No 19

At FRSG/FORSGC Annual Symposium 2002 held in March, two presentations were made from our Program: Followed by the Overall Introduction of this year's activity by Program Director Dr. Yasuoka, one of our researchers, Dr. Ito made his presentation on the role of plants and soils in the global carbon cycle. In addition, Drs. Tadokoro, Ono, and Chiba gave a poster presentation to report the recent marine ecosystem change in the North Pacific. Since biology/ecology is the theme familiar and interesting to general public, we have very positive feedback from the audience, as shown in the questionnaire.

Soon after in April, our researchers Drs. Komori and Kubo have transferred to Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute and Hokkaido University respectively. We are feeling a bit lonely as our already very small group has shrunk to only 6 members.

In order to understand the various studies conducted at Ecosystem Change Research Program, it is important to know that living organisms will not always act passively to the environmental change, but the change of the living organisms will affect the global environment. For example, absorption capacity in the atmospheric CO2 by the ocean will be affected by the role of plankton. On the other hand, the fact that compared to physical/chemical processes, there still exist a lot of uncertainties in the biological/ecological processes, makes prediction of glob-al environmental change. Therefore, even though our Program has a few members, we still have a lot to research. 

No 18

2002 PICES (North Pacific Marine Science Organization) MODEL TASK TEAM WORKSHOP was held from 25 to 29 January, at Nemuro city, Hokkaido, and JAMSTEC's Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences. From our Programm, Drs. Chiba and Tadokoro participated in the workshop.

It was the second time that the same workshop was held at Nemuro city. In previous workshop, NEMURO (Northpacific Ecosystem Model Understanding Regional Oceanography) was developed. This is the vertical one-dimensional numerical model, including plant and animal plankton into ocean's physical ground.

This vertical one-dimensional numerical model, including organisms of lower tropic level into ocean's physical ground, has been developed preciously, yet the NEMURO model became one step advanced by distinguishing plant and animal plankton into small and large kind, and including vertical movement of large animal plankton.

In this workshop, we have focused our objectives to construct a model, which realistically demonstrates the real ocean ecosystem, by incorporating the organisms of higher tropic level into NEMURO Model. As a result, the model including herring and saury, the important catchers of plankton, and named as NEMURO.FISH (For Including Saury and Herring). This model will be introduced to the public, to help researchers in the world understand the ecosystem change in the north pacific.

No 17

Dr.Takashi Nishimura, who joined our program in January 2001 is happy to introduce his research field, a subalpine forest in Shiretoko Peninsula, Hokkaido, Japan.

There grows very many sakhalin spruce (Picea glehnii Masters) and sakhalin fir (Abies sachalinensis Masters) in the subalpine forest in Shiretoko, Hokkaido, Japan. P. glehnii grow relatively slower but live three times longer than A. sachalinensis. However, if all conditions in the forest stay the same, A. sachalinensis grow a lot more than P. glehnii. In winter, it snows a lot and strong prevailing winds blow, so some of the trees fall, but the damage is different between these two kinds of tree. P. glehnii are hard and strong, while A. sachalinensis of small diameter are vulnerable and fall down very easily. Because of the snow and wind thinning trees of A. sachalinensis, P. glehnii can stay in the forest. The mechanisms to maintain forests are very sensitive. Amount of snowfall and strength of wind vary drastically every year, but these days, there frequently occurs abnormal weather. Since the trees live very long, there will be no instant effect for abnormal weather, but we might see completely different forests in the future.

No 16

Three of our researchers, Drs. Dye, Itoh, and Chiba participated in the Global Change Open Science Conference held in Amsterdam in July. The conference attracted over 1,500 participants. Presentations on current situation and achievements in general areas of global change research were made including interdisciplinary aspects such as politics and economics.
Three presentations were made : an evaluation of the influence exerted by snow and ice variation on land vegetation using satellite data; evaluation of the environmental change effects on terrestrial carbon budget using a ecosystem carbon cycle model; and an analysis of decadal variations in the Japan Sea lower tropic level ecosystem were given. At the end of the conference, the Amsterdam Declaration was delivered appealing to the world to recognize the urgent needs for further global systems research.
Our Program installed the ECRP program server and satellite data analysis system in order to strengthen our research on the detection of climate change through satellite observation. Through this new system, we expect to enforce model building for predicting ecosystem variation and consolidate process research using global-scale data from satellites.