Visitors to the Australian Antarctic Division

Dr Akira Ishikawa
Dr Akira Ishikawa (Photo: Harvey Marchant)

Australia has strong links with Japan in Antarctic research. Both nations structure their Antarctic programs similarly and over the last fifteen years there has been an increase in the working collaboration between the two. Last year the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) and the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) formally recognized this close association with the signing of a document by the directors of both organisations.

The Japanese biologist who is presently working in the AAD as a visiting scientist is Dr Akira Ishikawa from Mie University. He is on a two year postdoctoral fellowship funded though a bilateral program between the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and the Australian Academy of Science. He is working with Harvey Marchant and Graham Hosie to investigate the ecological role of the smallest (but the most abundant) species of phytoplankton in the Antarctic Ocean. He is looking at the interactions between them, their role as food for grazers, and the ways in which grazing influences the community composition of these organisms. This involves participating in marine science voyages (for the 1999–2000 and 2000–01 seasons) as well as experimental studies in the AAD’s laboratories.

Akira has received significant recognition early in his career in the form of two awards: the "Okada", a prize from the Oceanographic Society of Japan for excellence in oceanography by a young scientist and the "Shorei-sho" from the Plankton Society of Japan for excellence in research by a young scientist. We are particularly fortunate that such a promising scientist has chosen to work as part of our program.

Mr Xiaoliang (Granty) Ling from the Polar Research Institute of China is visiting the Australian Antarctic Data Centre (AADC) in 2001. He will be learning how the AADC operates, and will be briefing us on Antarctic data management activities in China. He will work on a number of data management initiatives in the AADC, the most significant of which will be to assist with the development of an Antarctic Biodiversity Database for the SCAR project, Regional Sensitivity to Climate Change (see RiSCCy business and Getting a handle on Antarctic species). This database promises to be by far the most complex that the AADC has developed to date.