Record of activities in 2021 at KURCPI

    Research Seminar No.211, 28 June 2021
    16:30-, The Interdivisional Education and Research Building, 5th Floor

    「Life of Polychaetes in the Ryukyu Islands」
    SATO Masanori
    (Emeritus Professor of Kagoshima University)

     Polychaetes (Annelida) are major components of benthic communities in marine and brackish waters, with about 1000 species known from Japan (about 200 species around the Amami Islands). Here are some interesting habits of the following species that live in the Ryukyu Islands.
     1) Nereidids inhabiting estuaries. Tylorrhynchus osawai Izuka, 1903 is distributed throughout Japan to the south to the Ryukyu Islands (Amami-Oshima and Okinawajima islands), showing a unique reproductive swarming just after times of high tide during a few nights closely following the new and full moons mainly from October to December; epitokes derived from the anterior portions of the worms, which are filled with eggs or sperm, swim up into water column, with the posterior portions of the worms degenerated and usually detached; they are transported toward the sea on ebbing tides for spawning. On the other hand, the other several species including Composeteia kumensis Sato, 2020, which is endemic to the Ryukyu Islands, seem to spawn without swarming (details unknown).
     2) Spirobranchus corniculatus-complex (Serpulidae) usually associated with living massive or plate-like poritid corals. The calcareous tubes of this species are buried in the skeleton of the coral, with the multicolored (red, yellow, blue and so on) branchial crown spread outward for feeding. Our fixed-point observation on Amami-Oshima Island indicates that the hermit crab Paguritta vittata Komai & Nishi, 1996, which usually inhabit the empty tube of S. corniculatus-complex, assists the successful settlement of the recruiting young of this species on the living coral surface (Kikuchi et al., unpublished data).

  • Research Seminar No.210, 17 May 2021
    16:30-, The Interdivisional Education and Research Building, 5th Floor

    「Basic Studies about Sea Pens Living from Kyushu to the Ryukyu Islands」
    KUSHIDA Yuka
    (International Center for Island Studies, Kagoshima University)

     Sea pens are marine colonial benthic animals belonging to subclass Octocorallia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa). They are specialized to live in sandy or muddy bottoms from shallow to deep water, and have roles as ecosystem engineers by providing habitat and shelter to associated marine organisms such as small crustaceans, mollusks and fish. Recently, due to their ecological importance, sea pens have been treated as one of target taxa for protection and conservation in Europe and Canada. However, basic studies on sea pens such as their taxonomy, diversity, phylogeny, evolution and ecology are not very well studied as they are difficult to sample and analyze specimens, and also due to low human interest towards marine organisms in sandy or muddy environments. I have focused on basic research on sea pens in the northwestern Pacific during my Ph.D. studies. As an example of this research, molecular phylogenetic studies suggested that the species numbers of sea pens in the Ryukyu Islands are more than twice what is currently known in this region, and this result demonstrates the need to conduct further diversity studies in sandy and muddy bottom ecosystems. Here, I would like to introduce sea pens and their research, spanning from Kyushu to the Ryukyu Islands.

  • Research Seminar No.209, 19 April 2021
    16:30-, The Interdivisional Education and Research Building, 5th Floor

    「Changes in Amami People’s View of Nature: Through Conversations with Residents of Sumiyo Town」
    SONG Dajeong
    (International Center for Island Studies, Kagoshima University)

     The Amami Islands are aiming to be registered as a World Natural Heritage Site in the summer of 2021. The nature of the islands, which is evaluated as a World Natural Heritage Site, is an ordinary landscape for residents. It was also a resource used in daily life. Since the end of the 1980s, nature observation groups have been established by residents in Amami-Oshima Island and a nature conservation movement has occurred out of concerns for environmental degradation caused by development. Meanwhile, tours to experience the forest, which had never existed before, began at the same time. For example, hiking in the Kinsakubaru national forest, mangrove kayaking, and a night tour to observe the endangered Amami rabbit. These tours have been considered as ecotourism in the promotion of World Natural Heritage. In this presentation, I will examine how nature has been viewed by residents in Sumiyo town where there is the Amami rabbit’s habitat. Then, I will discuss how the Amami people should be involved in their nature.

  • Research Seminar No.208, 15 February 2021
    16:30-, The Interdivisional Education and Research Building, 5th Floor

    「Development for Cooperation and Education Models between University and Local Community: Shimo-Koshiki Island Project」
    YOSHIDA Akihiro
    (Faculty of Law, Economics and Humanities, Kagoshima University)

     During the university’s third medium-term goal period, the Faculty of Law, Economics and Humanities worked on establishing a new educational program for humanities and social studies aimed at developing human resources in southern Kyushu and the Nansei Islands over a four-year period from 2016 to 2019. The purpose of this project is to provide students in the Department of Humanities with coordinated geography education by linking lectures, tutorials, experiments, and fieldwork, and to construct an educational model aimed at regional cooperation with merits for both the university and local communities. In the project, problem setting for the students’ geography fieldwork was done on the basis of the needs of the local government and local community, and students spent one week every year in the village of Teuchi on Shimo-Koshiki Island, part of Satsumasendai-shi, Kagoshima-ken. Each year the students gave the results of their fieldwork at a presentation session to which the local people were invited. Carrying out this long-term project not only improved the students’ degree of mastery of knowledge and technology in the field of geography, but also greatly affected their course after graduation having become more eligible manpower for the region through finding the solutions to the area’s problems while engaging with members of the local community. At the same, the students’ fieldwork became a good opportunity for members of the local community to think about the different problems they face and to hear the opinions of young people about them. This paper gives feedback on the results of the project on Shimo-Koshiki Island over the four years.

  • Research Seminar No.207, 18 January 2021
    17:00-, The Interdivisional Education and Research Building, 5th Floor

    「Risk and Prevention of COVID-19」
    NISHI Junichiro
    (Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medicine and Medical and Dental Sciences)

     In islands of Kagoshima Prefecture, several group infections including three COVID-19 big clusters in Yoron and Tokunoshima were observed since July 2020. A total of 205 persons infected by SARS-CoV-2 were reported in the area of islands (as of Dec 26, 2020), accounting for 21.7% of all persons with SARS-CoV-2 in Kagoshima Prefecture. The incidence of COVID-19 in the islands was 2.5 times higher than in the mainland of Kagoshima. The higher incidence in the islands are ascribed to the import of SARS-CoV-2 by travelers and intimate communication among island persons. There were many group infections in eating and drinking establishments and subsequent household infections.
     The main infection route of COVID-19 is droplet infection, in which aerosols carrying virus are inhaled at close range. Loud conversation in confined spaces with poor ventilation is high-risk for COVID-19. However, COVID-19 is hardly spread in common social life. In Kagoshima, the number of solitary cases infected by SARS-CoV-2 were 124, while that of groups with links to each other were 83, suggesting that major part of persons with SARS-CoV-2 did not infect any other persons.
     Although a variant strain with stronger infectivity requires considerable attention, excessive infection control is detrimental. It is important to develop a targeted infection control measure, such as preventing convivial party in a confined space. In addition, COVID-19 vaccines should be introduced after scientific validation of efficacy and safety in Japanese. To maintain favorable features of islands, feasible infection control with clemency is needed.

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