RESEARCHERS FRONTIER Newsletter No.11 July.2000

Introduction of the researchers

Sanae Chiba
Dr. Sanae Chiba
Ecosystem Change Research Program

Hello folks! I am a budding scientist who just finished my Ph.D. and has joined the Marine Biological Process Model Group of the Ecosystem Change Research Program in April 2000. I had studied on the variability of plankton community structure in the Antarctic Ocean, doing lots of fieldwork on board in the past several years. In FRSGC, my task is to investigate how marine ecosystem could be altered responding decadal to interdecadal environmental change in the North Pacific Ocean by collecting and analyzing historically accumulated data. Ultimate goal of my study has been consistent even if the target ocean and research methods changed: understanding of interaction process between ecosystem and global environment.
Ecosystem is to change responding change in environmental condition, and vice versa. In a very large time-scale, for example, a small marine organism "blue-green algae" played a fundamental role through photosynthesis in formation of oxygen rich earth's atmosphere and subsequently the ozone layer, which protect organisms on the earth from harmful ultraviolet ray, billions years ago. We cannot construct a realistic global change model without considering such feedback effect derived by biological activities to earth's environment.
I had worked as a secretary at a marine research institution before starting my present scientific carrier. Changing career and going back to school as I did is still odd in the Japanese society, and I am late for long years when compared with other young, postdoctoral colleagues. During the roundabout, however, I had lots of valuable experience, which now helps me getting interdisciplinary insight in doing scientific work. I would have never been interested in being a scientist if their task were only to talk about complicated issues in highbrowed scientific terms at research conferences or on scientific journals. I will be happy when I can show the public the wonders of nature and life through research activities, even if never compared with the elaborate works done by S.J.Gould.
One more word before saying good-bye , "Art brings science(and bread!)."

Dr. Takuya Kubo
Dr. Takuya Kubo
Ecosystem Change Research Program


The aim of" Ecosystem Architecture Group" is to model the dynamics of terrestrial plant community with three dimensional structure (or architecture). I study the computer modeling of trees which are complexly architectural organisms and the community consisting of them.
To investigate the dynamics of such structure and its functions is essential to understand the link between experimentally microscopic study on plant physiology such as photosynthesis or carbon fixation and macroscopic change of vegetation distribution as observed by remote sensing. That is why the answer of the question. "What kind of tree of physiological feature can expand their geographical distribution on the surface of the planet? ",depends on such mesoscopic scale interaction among plant individuals (for example, resource competitions for light, water, nutrient and space).
My objective to build these tree and forest simulators based on field measurements in order is to reveal the ecological problems how the transition of local environment in plant community undergoes dynamically as trees grow up and which tree species becomes dominant in such the autonomously changing environment. For these purposes, statistical method for processing field data, object oriented programming and three dimensional visualization would be important.


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