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Report of the FY2021 program for overseas visits by young researchers: Participation in Greenland Science Week

Report of the FY2021 program for overseas visits by young researchers:
Participation in Greenland Science Week
Yuta Sakuragi(Hokkaido University)

Presentation in public science talks in GSW.(Photo 1)

I visited Nuuk, Greenland on November 9-15 to participate in Greenland Science Week (GSW). GSW is a multi-disciplinary Arctic science platform that facilitates dialogue and cooperation for Greenlandic and international research, business, management and citizens. During GSW period, there were many presentations and workshops about research activities in Greenland, and presentations by young researchers.
In the session “Presentations from Next Generation of Researchers” of “Public Science Talks”, I gave a presentation about my research plan and progress under the title “Exploring the environmental factors of seals’ distribution in Northwestern Greenland” (Photo 1). I study how seals use the glacial fjords in Greenland. Seals are one of the important species for marine ecosystem and human society in Greenland. However, recent warming in the Arctic will change their ecology and relationship between marine ecosystem and human society. To estimate the change of this, it is necessary to understand the mechanism of the relationship between seals and the environment. So, I study relationship between seals, the physical environment and prey species. In my study, I use sight survey and satellite telemetry for seal’s distribution, investigate stomach contents and stable isotopes of muscle for seal’s diet, and environmental DNA for distribution of prey species. During the question-and-answer session, there were many questions about methodology and development to citizen science for environmental DNA, which showed the high level of interest of the audience in the new technology. In addition, my research is conducted in close collaboration with the Arctic Coastal Change and Its Impact on Society Subgroup in ArCS II (Arctic Challenge for Sustainability II). Therefore, we set up an ArCS II booth with Dr. Alyne Delaney who is a researcher in Tohoku University and a member of ArCS II, and we explained our activity by using posters and materials (Photo 2). Many people were interested in the research on marine mammals. And I was able to ask for cooperation in future survey and interact with researchers interested in my study.

Explain studies and research of ArCS II in the booth.(Photo 2)
Photo with Ar. Aqqalu Rosing-Asvid in his laboratory.(Photo 3)

I also visited the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (GINR) and met with Dr. Aqqalu Rosing-Asvid (Photo 3). He also studies seals in Greenland and has been very supportive of my research. For the ArCS II project, he attached CTD tags to seals ( This time, we discussed my study and future research plan.
Although the trip to Greenland was very difficult due to COVID-19, it was very meaningful because I was able to get much information, give a presentation and make new contacts. I will develop my study by using these information and connections. This trip to Greenland and participation in the GSW were supported by many people. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity.