National Institute of Polar Research

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Research Groups

Bioscience Group

Study of the present and past to identify future changes in polar ecosystems

Leader  Tsuneo Odate

Biological research in three fields

The fundamental task of this group is to establish how organisms have adapted and survived in the extremely harsh environments of the polar regions. It also studies the sensitive response mechanisms of marine and terrestrial communities to global environmental changes. Its studies extend to the production process in marine lower trophic levels, behavior of marine predators and terrestrial biology.

Biological oceanography

Research focuses on mechanisms of ecosystem variability in association with environmental change in the Antarctic Ocean using in situ and satellite observations. With particular focus on plankton variability in the Indian Sector, we have been conducting corroborative research on analysis of long-term data with Australian scientists.

Plankton sampling in the pack ice

Vertebrate ecology

Research focuses on the behaviour and ecology of polar marine animals, especially seabirds and marine mammals. We have been developing small data loggers with sensors (GPS, camera, acceleration etc.) that can be attached to animals. Using these instruments, we obtain detailed information about at-sea behaviour and ecology that is critical to assessing the effects of environmental changes on the animals.

Adélie penguin with data logger

Terrestrial biology

Research focuses on the origins and establishment of Antarctic lake biota, paleo-environmental reconstruction from lake sediment samples and response mechanisms in lake ecosystems to global environmental change. Research on the Arctic ecosystem in particular has been conducted for more than ten years and accumulated ecophysiological data on soil microbial respiration and photosynthetic production.

Limnological survey in an Antarctic lake

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