Australia-Japan meeting to build Antarctic science collaboration

The Umitaka Maru in the Southern Ocean
The Umitaka Maru in the Southern Ocean. (Photo: Dave Watts)
A group of scientists from many countries enjoy a meal in the mess of the Umitaka MaruA group of Australian and Japanese scientists at a meeting in Tokyo

5th February 2014

Japanese scientists visiting Hobart this week on their Antarctic research vessel Umitaka Maru will meet with Australian Antarctic scientists on Friday (7 February) to build on a long-standing scientific collaboration.

The 30 Japanese scientists from the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, the National Institute of Polar Research, and other academic and government organisations, have just completed their annual Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE) to the Southern Ocean.

Their research contributes to a number of Australian scientific programs in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean, led by the Australian Antarctic Division and the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC.

Australian Antarctic Division krill researcher, Dr So Kawaguchi, said the Umitaka Maru and her scientists were a key part of Australia’s ecological and climate change research in the Southern Ocean.

During the International Polar Year in 2007, for example, Australia, Japan and France combined resources to conduct a comprehensive census of marine life in East Antarctic waters. Between 2009 and 2011 Australia and Japan combined 30 years of oceanographic and ecological data, looking for climate change-related trends and identifying gaps for future observation and monitoring. The annual JARE biological and physical oceanographic surveys also contribute to the international Southern Ocean Sentinel program, established by Australia to investigate the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems.

‘For decades now we have been working with Japan to coordinate and share the results of our research efforts in the Southern Ocean,’ Dr Kawaguchi said.

‘The research conducted onboard the Umitaka Maru is a vital part of this collaboration.

‘On a recent JARE voyage, the scientists began a pilot study, as a contribution to the Southern Ocean Sentinel program, looking at biological changes in the waters of the Kerguelen Plateau, which is an area of great scientific interest to Australia.’

The Japanese and Australian scientists will meet in the new Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies waterfront building on Friday to discuss the preliminary results of this pilot study and highlights from the JARE voyage. Australian scientists will also present plans for further Southern Ocean Sentinel research and collaborative opportunities.

‘The Umitaka Maru’s visit is a great opportunity for established Antarctic scientists, early-career scientists and students from Australia and Japan, to establish international links and extend their research horizons,’ Dr Kawaguchi said.

‘To understand and adapt to the challenges of climate change, Antarctic research needs to be multi-disciplinary and multi-lateral, and this meeting will help to achieve that.’

Contacts

AAD: Wendy Pyper; +61 3 6232 3675, media@aad.gov.au

ACE CRC: Miranda Harman; +61 3 6226-2265, 0419 507 268, miranda.harman@acecrc.org.au

Related information

Australia-Japan collaboration addresses climate change questions

This page was last modified on 5 February 2014.